Michael Harris, and his motorized wheelchair, got off the 5 train in Brooklyn last week only to find that the elevator to street level was out of service. First of all, big freakin’ surprise. Anyway, he went to the station agent to told him to get back on a train and go back three stops. From there, he should have been able to find another station with a working elevator.
Harris got so pissed that he instead called 911. Firefighters showed up to carry him and his wheelchair to street level. First, they strapped him to the stretcher, and carried him up. He got a little dramatic with his description saying that they strapped him to gurney that “they use to carry out dead bodies.” A bit much we think.
They then went down to lug up his 300 pound wheelchair.
Mixed feelings about this story. Did this guy take it a little too far?
After all, it is no secret that the subway system is not at all handicap accessible. Only 23 stops in Manhattan have ramps and elevators. The whole system only has about 50 of the 400+ stops that have been converted.
Here’s a stat for you: There were over 1,000 service outages per year reporter for the 23 elevators in Manhattan from 2002 to 2005. Holy crap! Did they ever work?
Apparently the problem is that the homeless and drunks use them as toilets. And they tend to get vandalized a lot.
Here’s a solution. Install MetroCard swipes at all the elevators so that only the elderly and handicap can use them. That’s fair, right? If for some reason you have a temporary need to use them, go to the token booth agent and get a temporary card to swipe. That way, the bums and drunks can’t get on the elevators. Maybe then they will last longer.
Otherwise, the handicap get a special fare, and all the busses are handicap accessible. So don’t complain too much. You might have a case sometimes, but don’t push your luck.
Nice, comfortable wheelchair gloves can be very important for those who use them.