Blind man says buses don't stop for him - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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Blind man says buses don't stop for him

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A blind man called 12 On Your Side for help solving a problem he's having with GRTC. He rides the bus to work and to appointments. He says some drivers won't stop, even though they see him waiting, at a designated bus stop.

Michael Chandler says GRTC is great when he can get a bus to stop long enough, for him to find out whether it's the bus he wants. We met him downtown, outside his work, to observe for ourselves.

When we monitored a stop on 9th Street between Main and Franklin, most GRTC buses stopped for Michael Chandler and either the driver, or the GPS announced its route and destination. But not all...

"This one didn't stop, this one kept going. And generally, that happens more often than not," Chandler said.      

Three buses passed without stopping for Michael during the 30 or 40 minutes we watched.

"She looked over here but, she didn't stop, she didn't even pull over into this lane"

Things we take for granted because we can see are obstacles for the visually impaired.

"You can't flag the bus down, because I can't see what the number is. If they don't stop, you don't know whether that's the bus you need or not," said Chandler.  

We took our findings to GRTC; Chief Operating Officer John Lewis who said all buses don't stop at all stops.  Some buses run different routes. He had his staff done some research. They confirmed what we saw. Three buses that were supposed to stop did not.      

"Which means I have to call a taxi, late for meetings, the frustration," Chandler said.

GRTC apologized and said its 100 percent wrong. It talked to the operators involved and reminded all its drivers, if anyone, is standing at a designated stop the bus is required to stop.

Michael says most people offer help but it's a problem when no one's there and the bus zips by him.

Michael says drivers are more concerned with staying on schedule than stopping and because they "think" he rides the same bus, everyday - some don't stop. GRTC is apologizing and thanking Michael for bringing it to their attention.

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