NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some commuters are outraged after they say a city bus driver told a woman in a wheelchair to get off the bus.
“It was not just totally unnecessary, but really despicable behavior, malicious and vindictive,” said bus rider Alison Fahey.
Fahey told CBS2’s Tony Aiello she was at an Upper East Side bus stop Monday morning when her friend who uses a wheelchair tried to board an M31 bus, only to be told the fold-out ramp wasn’t working.
With knowledge born of past experience, the wheelchair user — who requested anonymity — asked the bus driver to pull on the strap that’s visible when the ramp is in its stored position.
“Nine times out of 10, if you simply grab the strap and pull up a few inches, that’s all it takes in order to get the lift functioning again,” she said. “There are certain drivers who will do that and others who simply are not willing to, and they say they it’s because they could injure themselves.”
So when the bus driver told the woman she had a bad back, Fahey reached for the strap.
“So I stepped in and jiggled it and it opened,” Fahey said. “And that’s when she started screaming. She became fairly unhinged.”
“She just said something to the effect of ‘I can’t drive under these stressful conditions,” the woman added.
Fahey took a picture of the bus driver, who smiled as she told the woman in the wheelchair to get off the bus and then took the vehicle out of service so no one could ride it, Aiello reported.
“She gave this big smile and said ‘now none of you get a bus.’ She was very pleased with herself,” Fahey said.
The MTA said “The conduct as described falls well short of the service our customers expect. But we’ve only heard one side of the story. We are investigating seriously and rapidly.”