A disabled Londoner plans to go before a London Transit Commission committee this month with hopes of altering a rule he believes operates under wrongful terms.
Jeffrey Preston — who uses an electric wheelchair because of congenital muscular dystrophy — sent a thorough letter of complaint after an incident on a Dundas Street bus in late June.
Preston, 29, says that after non-disabled passengers didn’t offer him a spot in the priority seating area, the bus driver did not mediate. Instead, the driver told Preston they are not supposed to intervene.
“The objective of sending my letter, and getting a delegation at the committee meeting, is to remove the policy that states drivers are not responsible for mandating that these spaces are for those with disabilities,” he said.
According to an LTC brochure, drivers are, in fact, advised by management to refrain from superseding seating decisions made by passengers. LTC general manager Larry Ducharme is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.
Preston wants to reverse the policy, stating in his letter that all London businesses, whether privately or publicly run, should “provide the best possible experience for their clientele, regardless of their level of ability.”
“If their decision is to do nothing about the complaint, I will be taking further action to rectify the situation,” he added, noting he’s willing to go to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, if necessary.
The accessible public transit advisory committee has granted Preston, PhD candidate at Western University, a three-minute presentation and two-minute question/answer period Aug. 16. The committee has the power to make a recommendation to the LTC, if it sees fit.
Frequently Asked Questions section of LTC brochure:
Q: Can I ask the operator to force passengers to vacate a seat for me?
A: Drivers/operators will not intervene in a dispute between passengers regarding a seat.