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Dialogue

I am a Connect Mobility rider. I feel it is so important that individuals with disabilities be on the Connect Transit board.

Nothing against those without disabilities, but many see things differently than those with disabilities. Have you boarded a bus in a wheelchair? Have you been to one of the bus stops where the stop isn’t at the end of the street? To load, you are to go from the sidewalk, through the grass, to the street. I’m a paraplegic who has to use a wheelchair. What do you think would happen if I tried to board one of the buses like that on the fixed routes?

I’d crash trying to get off the curb.

With so few accessible stops, I can’t take a chance on riding a fixed route bus. I rely on Connect Mobility. Due to my being in a rehab facility for physical and occupational therapy, my SSI — my only income — has dropped to $30. A bus pass is $65. I don’t have enough income to even afford a bus pass.

If you don’t use a wheelchair, you can only imagine the difficulty. Someone in a wheelchair, someone with other disabilities, needs to be a voice on the board. I want someone with disabilities to be the one to speak for those of us with disabilities. They know the struggle, and believe me, the struggle is real.

Save the Olive route, don’t raise fares, appoint a board member with disabilities.

Bailey Pontius, Normal

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