11/13/18 PRESS ALERT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information:
Dawn Russell: (303) 884-1471
Jordan Sibayan: (303) 250-6254
WHAT: National ADAPT Calls on RTD Stop Leaving Disabled Riders Behind
WHERE: RTD Board Meeting, 1660 Blake Street Denver, CO 80202-1399
WHEN: Tuesday, November 13th, 2018; Happening NOW
ADAPT Demands RTD to Provide Equal Access to Real-Time Transportation Options
11/13/18 Denver, CO – Forty years ago, nineteen disabled people made history in Denver when they protested RTD to put lifts on buses. This group became ADAPT, and because of ADAPT’s tenacious activism, RTD was the first public transit company in the nation to make their buses wheelchair accessible. However, because disabled people still struggle to get around Denver due to a lack of real-time public transportation options, ADAPT is protesting RTD once again – 40 years later. Hundreds of activists from ADAPT chapters across the country are at RTD’s Board meeting this evening demanding that RTD make improvements so that Denver’s Disability Community can have equal access to real-time transportation options.
While RTD does provide paratransit rides for disabled people who schedule their trips at least one day in advance, there are little options for people who want or need same day service. Accessible taxis are often too busy providing contracted rides for RTD, making it difficult for general use riders with disabilities to get a ride on demand. Furthermore, because the Public Utilities Commission failed to establish any accessibility requirements for ride sharing transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, wheelchair users who cannot transfer into a standard vehicle are often left stranded.
“It’s outrageous that Denver paved the way for our entire nation to offer accessible public transportation, but now, 40 years later, Denver and RTD are leaving disabled people behind once again,” said Jackie Mitchell of Atlantis ADAPT. “RTD can and must fix this.”
ADAPT demands that RTD increase the budget for their paratransit service in order to meet the needs of the Disability Community, including providing on-demand rides to wheelchair users who cannot secure a trip in an accessible taxi within one hour. ADAPT also demands that RTD require all of its contractors to provide wheelchair accessible transportation services in a comparable manner to their standard services.
“It’s simple, RTD should not contract with any taxi or ridesharing transportation company that is not equipped to provide equivalent wheelchair accessible service,” said Dawn Russell of Atlantis ADAPT. “RTD was the first in the nation to provide wheelchair accessible public transportation, so they cannot roll backwards now by contracting with companies that provide inaccessible services.”
For decades ADAPT has worked to secure for disabled Americans the same rights to accessible transportation enjoyed by their non-disabled neighbors. Learn more about ADAPT’s history and activities at www.adapt.org, on social media with the National ADAPT Facebook and Twitter pages. Also, under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.