Handicapped User Turnstiles at BART

July 25, 2008 at 8:28 am Leave a comment

Too frequently, I get a very small taste of what the disabled face in this country on an ongoing basis. I often get cut off from the wider turnstiles at BART, meant especially for the handicapped but also for people with extensive luggage and, yes, bicycles. What’s especially frustrating is that I’m not waiting behind people in wheelchairs or on crutches or walkers; rather, this is done by folks who, as far as I can tell, are perfectly capable of entering or exiting through any of the other turnstiles.

For a long time I didn’t assume that bicyclists are granted the right to use these ticket gates. I always used to park my bike up against the wall, used one of the narrow turnstiles, went through the swinging gate, retrieved my bicycle, and went back out the swinging gate. This was slightly more time consuming and always seemed very inconvenient when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere–which for me is far too often. I also sometimes had to deal with station agents who didn’t fully see what I was doing and assumed I was going through that gate to evade paying fare. Finally, one such station agent informed me that I should be going through the wide ticket gate. And, this has been a huge source of relief for me. Well, that is when others use it the way it’s meant to be used…

Many is the time that, bike in one hand, I’ve gotten my pass out fully prepared to offer it to the gods of electronic ticket reading, when I discover that someone on the opposite end has beat me to it. Not only are these commuters not in any visible way impaired, they are often fit as a fiddle, and they tend to be bearing nothing that would be difficult to clear through one of the other gates. Either they are so incredibly lazy that moving a step or two over to one of the other gates seems like a monumentally tasking ordeal for them; they are completely ignorant of the fact that someone else with a far greater need to use the gate has gotten to it first; they are unfamiliar with the concept of handicapped facilities; or they are selfish boneheads. Whatever the case, this irks me to no end!

Now, it would be easy to assume this sort of behavior is perpetrated by the young and immature brood of our BART-riding family who can be self-centered and distracted and may not even be noticing what they are doing. However, many such individuals appear to be well-heeled professionals who, one would assume, are held accountable for important decisions on a regular basis and should be expected to be cognizant of something as simple as a BART ticket transaction. Even more obnoxious are parents with kids in tow who see fit to model such inconsiderate behavior to their offspring.

At any rate, these people are out there. I think we should start calling them on their douchebaggery!


Entry filed under: Bay Area. Tags: , , , , , , .

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