At Monday's Board Meeting our members told the RT Board about the difficulty they have boarding the 51 Bus, which can only hold 2 chairs at a time, often passing our members by, forcing them to wait for the next bus.
Since we started holding regular meetings over a year ago, which are on Saturdays from 1-3pm, our members have been experiencing a problems with the 51 Bus. Our members who are chair uses are repeatedly passed by the 51 bus, sometimes passed by multiple buses, because they are too crowded. The buses are only able to carry 2 chairs at a time.
Route 51 is the busiest bus line in the system, with an average Saturday boarding of over 2,000 riders. On weekends service is only every 30 minutes. This means if our members get to the bus stop on time but can't safely board the first bus, they have to wait at the stop for 30 minutes. If the next bus comes and they are unable to board, they have to decide to wait another 30 minutes (for a total of an hour wait) or driving their chairs along uneven sidewalk for miles to reach our office. They have tried to communicate these issues through the normal channels by reporting to customer advocacy team, at our last meeting they discussed it and reached a point where we needed to discuss it at a higher level.
We know that this can be addressed in the upcoming route optimization project, but that could be multiple years away. We ask the board to direct staff to examine the 51 Route to determine if there is a demand and an ability to provide higher service on the bus route to ensure that all chair users are able to board the bus on weekends.
The Board directed RT staff to look into possible solutions for this problem. We'll keep you posted on updates!