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TheBostonian

Fung Wah bus company's troubles

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Not fare! Disabled rip discount bus company after being denied access

By Casey Ross/Herald Exclusive

Monday, July 25, 2005 - Updated: 11:51 AM EST

"A popular Boston-to-New York City bus carrier that has repeatedly violated disability laws by denying service to wheelchair-bound passengers has escaped federal enforcement, a Herald investigation found."

This is a shame, since Fung Wah offers such an inexpensive ride to NY.

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Civil liberties need to be protected, the handicapped and women.

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I just don't see it as a matter of discrimination... and I don't think companies should be forced to pay large amounts of money so that .0001% of the people who want to use their services can be accommodated.

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Well it's the law for one thing. The ADA was passed in 1990, everyone has had 15 years to catch up with it, I don't think it too much to ask that 15 years out, companies should be in compliance.

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I like the new low-floor MBTA buses that only require a simple, low-tech flip-out ramp for a wheelchair. Though I have only seen one wheelchair on a bus in my MBTA-riding life.

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The way the law is structured right now supports the accessibility rights of the handicapped, a minority in society. That's why laws are continuously questioned in regards to discrimination.

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Well it's the law for one thing. The ADA was passed in 1990, everyone has had 15 years to catch up with it, I don't think it too much to ask that 15 years out, companies should be in compliance.

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I agree that since it's a law, companies ought to be in compliance, and I'm not defending them for it. I just don't like the law.

I like the new low-floor MBTA buses that only require a simple, low-tech flip-out ramp for a wheelchair.  Though I have only seen one wheelchair on a bus in my MBTA-riding life.

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I like their design, but the question still exists in my mind: how much more did the T pay for these buses than they would have for regular ones? They could have just had people in wheelchairs use their paratransit service instead, for the 5 handicapped people in metro Boston who actually use the T.

The way the law is structured right now supports the accessibility rights of the handicapped, a minority in society.  That's why laws are continuously questioned in regards to discrimination.

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Our discrimination laws ought to be rewritten then. Discrimination is active, purposeful, and bigoted. Not letting handicapped people on is due to the fact that it is not physically possible with the buses they have.

dis

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I like their design, but the question still exists in my mind: how much more did the T pay for these buses than they would have for regular ones? They could have just had people in wheelchairs use their paratransit service instead, for the 5 handicapped people in metro Boston who actually use the T.

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There are way more than 5 disabled people in Metro Boston who utilize the T. The lowfloor buses do not only benefit those in wheelchairs, but the elderly, people with children in strollers, people carrying parcels onto the bus... The low floor buses facilitate the boarding of all passengers, resulting in a quicker, more timely ride for everyone.

We live in a society, we are all part of that society, we should all bear the burdens to ensure that everyone can take part in that society. The cost of equipping public transit and buildings for wheelchair access is really quite minimal when done right (doing things right being something the T has problems with).

Why should the T pay for a special driver to provide pra-transit service to wheechair bound passengers, is that really efficient? We all get to ride the lowfloor buses, and no one is paid to make a special trip for one person, no fuel is wasted, no special vehicles are purchased.

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There are way more than 5 disabled people in Metro Boston who utilize the T. The lowfloor buses do not only benefit those in wheelchairs, but the elderly, people with children in strollers, people carrying parcels onto the bus... The low floor buses facilitate the boarding of all passengers, resulting in a quicker, more timely ride for everyone.

We live in a society, we are all part of that society, we should all bear the burdens to ensure that everyone can take part in that society. The cost of equipping public transit and buildings for wheelchair access is really quite minimal when done right (doing things right being something the T has problems with).

Why should the T pay for a special driver to provide pra-transit service to wheechair bound passengers, is that really efficient? We all get to ride the lowfloor buses, and no one is paid to make a special trip for one person, no fuel is wasted, no special vehicles are purchased.

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You do make some good points, and I'm not necessarily against low-floor buses. But the fact is that paratransit is also, I believe, mandated by the ADA (or maybe it's some other federal law, I can't remember). And as you probably know, the T already administers the service, known as "The Ride". So it's not likely that many, if any, new vehicles would be necessary.

I agree about bearing the burdens of society, and I think ADA-complying subway stops and low-floor buses do make a lot of sense in many ways, including what you mentioned. But it would also be interesting to know how much more the T spent on them.

But, regardless, my belief that we should do what we can to accommodate handicapped people stops where private companies begin.

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I think the ADA compliance laws really benefit everyone, even though they are made specifically to accomodate the handicapped. Things like 3-foot passing room on sidewalks (around things like telephone poles), ramps and curb-cuts are useful to senior citizens, strollers, and the common pedestrian too. I have no problem with them at all. Sure they can be a nightmare to a simple sidewalk or streetscape project, but its worth it in the end.

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I think the ADA compliance laws really benefit everyone, even though they are made specifically to accomodate the handicapped.  Things like 3-foot passing room on sidewalks (around things like telephone poles), ramps and curb-cuts are useful to senior citizens, strollers, and the common pedestrian too.  I have no problem with them at all.  Sure they can be a nightmare to a simple sidewalk or streetscape project, but its worth it in the end.

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I agree. The new buses are better for everyone, as one example.

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What happens to the MBTA when their elevators are temporarily broken down?  Are they in any sort of trouble under the ADA?

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I beleive it depends on the duration of the outage. Any large transit agency is going to have it's fair share of breakdowns, but there is a difference between an elevator being out for a couple days versus a couple months.

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I beleive it depends on the duration of the outage. Any large transit agency is going to have it's fair share of breakdowns, but there is a difference between an elevator being out for a couple days versus a couple months.

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I don't understand why it is that I have never in my life seen an elevator or escalator in a mall broken down, but you have 10% of the MBTA elevators broken down at any given time. It's insane. The MBTA ought to hold the elevator maintenance company accountable.

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2 easy reasons: The MBTA is public and a monopoly.

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I'd love to see a private, self-sufficient subway system, and I wonder if it is possible. I don't mean just contracting out the operations, as with the MBTA commuter rail, or any sort of Public-Private-Partnership. I mean fully private, with everything, including capital costs, privately funded. Maybe the extensive passenger rail system of pre-WWII is an example, before cars and the federal highway system.

And high commuter rail platforms, like at South Station, are good for everyone. The ADA certainly makes life easier for anyone pushing a baby carriage.

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I'd love to see a private, self-sufficient subway system, and I wonder if it is possible.  I don't mean just contracting out the operations, as with the MBTA commuter rail, or any sort of Public-Private-Partnership.  I mean fully private, with everything, including capital costs, privately funded.  Maybe the extensive passenger rail system of pre-WWII is an example, before cars and the federal highway system.

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I'd like to see it too, but I couldn't really see it being possible without massive cuts in road maintenance budgets. In New York it might be possible, if you brought in good, union busting management. Hell, if you figured out a way to bust the greedy, useless unions in Boston, I'm sure Boston's could be privatized as well. As for capital projects, I can't really see any mass transit agency being self-sufficient. I sure would like to see it, though.

Maybe in, say, 20 or 30 years, if they ever get the balls to make automated subway cars and actually fire people, I could see it working.

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Yeah right...

Also, NYC's subway began as two private, competing companies. That's why the system is so big. The city finally got sick of the unplanned digging, and bought them out.

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