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So...why do wheelchairs/scooters get priority boarding?

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Eliza32, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Eliza32

    Eliza32 DIS Veteran

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    Please don't flame me for this, but I have read so many threads that complain about this happening
    Is there a law in the US that says Disney must board them first on their buses?
    I don't understand why they can't wait in line with everyone else then board the next available bus. Maybe I'm being naive???? We usually have a car when we go to Disney, so don't really use the buses, but there seems to be more and more threads on this subject.
     
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  3. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    More maneuvering room for the wheelchair when the bus is still empty.

    Disney hints: http://www.cockam.com/disney.htm

    Let me now take you on a journey into your imagination.

    Suppose that wheelchair guests waited in line with "everybody else." When a wheelchair guest gets to the front of the line and for some reason, any reason, he could not get on the bus and be strapped down in an appropriate location, the bus driver closes the door and drives on without taking anybody else.

    Ideally only enough others to help get the wheelchair into the bus should accompany the wheelchair guest; other family members able to proceed through the regular line on their own should wait in the regular line.

    Now back to reality.

    Disney has some freedom to make its own rules without having a federal law to lean on. For example it is not necessary to have a Florida law that partially used admission tickets may not be given to someone else to use.
     
  4. dburg30

    dburg30 Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! Yes, I

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    Because there are very few spots on the bus that scooters and wheelchairs can be strapped down to.. Trying to load a scooter or wheelchair with people filling the bus would be almost impossible and unsafe.

    Think WDW also has their own rule that if there is a scooter or chair waiting at a stop and people refuse to move out of the seats that are needed for the straps, even if there is no one else on the bus ie: the rest of the seats are empty, the driver will close the doors and drive off, they wont fill the bus with other waiting people.. (I have heard that, but not sure if it's official policy or not)
     
  5. Moparlar

    Moparlar Mouseketeer

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    What kind of Lowlife would not get up from a wheelchair spot. They are clearly marked.
     
  6. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Reserving the right to make jokes out of typos - b

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    There's also a somewhat recent issue with drivers claiming the wheelchair ramp or lift doesn't work. Someone on the disABILITIES board reported a wait of over three hours to get on a bus to MNSSHP - despite repeated sojourns from a member of their party to the Front Desk. Driver after driver had a bus that was either too full, or the ramp was broken.

    So, waiting for the "next" bus is very different for someone on wheels than for someone who just doesn't want to stand. And it's almost amusing how many people are bothered by the guests on wheels boarding the bus first, but nobody gives a whit that they're the last ones to debark.
     
  7. dburg30

    dburg30 Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! Yes, I

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    Yes they are clearly marked, but I've heard of it happening.. Maybe one of those urban legend things, but I have a feeling it has happened..
     
  8. punn

    punn Earning My Ears

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    I think this is a hot topic. I have no problem with a wheelchair boarding first and completely understand why. My problem is when you are already waiting in line at the end of the night and not even inside the ropes yet and you watch a wheelchair just pull up and board the next bus taking with them up to 6 other people i'm sorry but that is wrong. Let them wait in line or at least their family wait in line. When the family reaches the front of the line to board then let them all get on like the rest of us. Some people choose to step aside and wait for a bus so they can sit the family of the disabled can do the same thing so they can get on first too.
     
  9. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    Another thing Disney could do is, at certain stops, require instead of forbid the driver to say something like, "This bus is not going to depart until I see that the guest in the wheelchair is safely aboard another bus" and act accordingly. This would be restricted to areas where other buses can maneuver around a stopped bus.
     
  10. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    It is the law...plain and simple. I fail to understand why it's such a huge issue for some. Here's the problem. Let's say there are 25 people in the line, waiting for the MK bus. In that line are a wheelchair (and several family members) and an ECV (with their family members). The wheelchair group is about 10 people down, the ECV group is at the end of the line.
    Well, people board the bus, then the wheelchair has to load, be tied down, and the occupant either seated in the disability seats or in the wheelchair. Then their family members. Then others board. Then, the ECV group comes along...now that ECV has to be driven onto a half full bus....possibly injuring others as it moves around to get into place to be tied down. And those that may have decided to take a seat where the ECV would be tied down will now have to find new seats..possibly standing, which may not make them very happy. Then, what happens when you get to the park??? Do all the able bodied folks now just jam past the disabled??? Pushing in order to get off before the slowpokes in wheelchairs and on ECVs???
    The system works just fine. Those on ECVs wait in a different spot than the regular line. That way the driver can see them as he/she arrives at the bus stop. If there is no room for them onboard, they will be told to wait for the next bus..each bus can accommodate only a set number of ECVs/wheelchairs/etc. If they can board, they ride around, board first so as to not hurt anyone else. Their family members get on with them (it's supposed to be limited to 6 or fewer). Then everyone else boards. When the bus gets to the park, everyone gets off, and the ECV is unloaded last.

    The system, as it stands now, says that the ECV has to be waiting there, as the bus drives up...no more rush to get there just as it arrives!!! That truly did cause issues. Again, it is the law that the ECV boards first...this is not Disney law!! It's the state.
    I have chatted with a nice elderly couple at MK bus stop going back to BW. We arrived at the stop as the bus was leaving..so knew we had a 20 or so minute wait ahead of us. Well, we got talking to this couple who had been sitting in the proper area for ECV riders. I asked why they hadn't gotten on the bus that had just left. They had been told that the ramp was broken!!! But, the nasty thing was that they had been told the same thing by the driver of the previous bus!!!! They had been sitting there, in the midday sun of August, for about 45 mins already. When our bus finally came, they were told that the bus would accommodate just one of the ECVs..that one of the tie down systems was broken, so two units couldn't be put on the bus!!! I felt so badly for those people. They just sat there and got hotter and hotter. All they wanted to do was to get back to their room.
    I did stop at the front desk at BW and told the CM how disappointing it was to know that an elderly ECV bound couple had to sit for an hour in the summer heat waiting for a ride back to their resort due to poorly maintained buses!!! It probably made no difference but I felt better having reported it.

    It really doesn't take more than 5 mins to load ECVs. Are we all in such a rush??? Is it going to ruin your stay if you don't get right on that bus??? Walk a mile in the ECV guest's shoes. I know my eyes were opened after spending an evening with a friend in an ECV!!!
     
  11. dancin Disney style

    dancin Disney style <font color=blue>I found one to share with some fa

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    I have no issue at all with the chairs/ECV's boarding first but it does bug me when they roll up as the bus is arriving and get right on while there is an entire que full of people that have been standing for a while waiting. I've had this happen many times that put me in a position to have to wait for another bus. IMO, this is a legit gripe....I have very painful hip and knee problems(I've used a wheelchair inside the parks a few times). There are many people that do not have visible mobility problems so having to wait longer because someone else(and their party) essentially, got to jump the que can be very unpleasant. I suppose in my case if bugs me just a little more because I would really appreciate being able to sit and wait as opposed to standing....which if possible I will sit while my family stands, holding our place in line, but there is not always a bench to sit on.
     
  12. Greysword

    Greysword <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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  13. LadyBeBop

    LadyBeBop DIS Veteran

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    Isn't that a possible ADA issue? That there seems to be too few assessable buses (those with a working ramp)? Or worst, could it be the bus drivers didn't want to deal with the ramps?
     
  14. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    In part they are allowed on because Disney can't guarantee that the next bus will have an open spot for them, or a lift that works. The only way to make it totally fair would be if they wait, and the next bus pulls up and doesn't have an open wheelchair spot, and drives off. Even if they could have let able bodied people on.

    It wouldn't be fair either to make the wheelchair wait their turn in line, and then have the next bus pull up and say "sorry our lift is broke but we can take everyone in line behind the wheelchair". Would it? It would have to be everyone loads or no one loads, and I don't think that would really benefit anyone. And it wouldn't benefit Disney, to have to have only partially full buses running around.
     
  15. joelkfla

    joelkfla DIS Veteran

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    If they roll up just before the bus arrives, the driver has no way of knowing the queue was full before they arrived. If the driver sees them roll up as the bus is arriving or while the bus is loading, and there's a full busload in the queue, and the driver is on the ball, they're supposed to be asked to wait for the next bus. If they roll up while the bus is loading and there is enough room for everyone to get on the bus (even if some will have to stand), the driver may interrupt loading to load the wheelchair before the bus gets too full to maneuver it.
     
  16. joelkfla

    joelkfla DIS Veteran

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    The lifts on the old high-floor buses break down pretty regularly, but I think they're down to less than 10% of the fleet now.

    All of the low floor buses have ramps that can be operated by hand if the motor is not working. I have seen a ramp physically break, i.e. come off the hinge pins, but only once or twice in 5 years.

    It's more common, but still rare, for one of the tie-downs or seat belts to not work properly, but I think that happening on 2 or 3 buses in a row is pretty unlikely. And the first driver of the day is supposed to check them before putting the bus in service, and I'd say 80% of the time maintenance can fix them that morning.

    If anyone encounters 2 buses in a row saying the ramp is not working, I would encourage them to ask to speak to a bus manager.
     
  17. Pstecker

    Pstecker Earning My Ears

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    My mother was using an ecv and we had an instance where the first bus was broken, the 2nd bus was full. The 2nd bus driver called a bus to come just for her that was empty and working. It was really appreciated especially since my mom always felt like the ecv made her into a burden on everyone .
     
  18. mrsksomeday

    mrsksomeday My Prince uses a power wheelchair!

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    My boyfriend uses a power wheelchair, we have been on 11 WDW trips together and used the busses every trip. We have no problem waiting in line at the end of the night with everyone else then break off at the accessible gate. What I have a huge problem with is getting to the front of the line but there are several ECV's/wheelchairs in front of us because Disney likes to double load busses.

    Meaning while one bus is in the loading zone, another pulls up beside it and starts loading people, all able bodied because there is no way for the ramp to be let out on the second bus. That means a bus with 2 - 4 wheelchair slots is pulling away over and over again without an ECV/wheelchair in those slots while they have been waiting long after the people that were behind them in the line are well on their way.

    This has happened to us time and time again especially at Epcot. I know it is not a great system to let the ECV's/wheelchairs right on the bus, but neither is stacking them up while letting the accessible slots drive away over and over. They should let the first bus fill up, drive off, then the next bus pull right in.
     
  19. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    Could be...would hate for that to be the case, but with all the complaints we see here, about having to wait for ECVs to board first, it's not hard to believe the some bus drivers don't want to hear complaining guests.

    Wow, that's a small percentage for someplace as big as WDW!! I remember being at AKL-Jambo a few years ago. It was late afternoon and we all wanted to get to the MK, and it was starting to rain. Well, there was a family with a parent on an ECV. When the bus got there, the driver got it to 'kneel', the ECV was boarded, we all boarded. Then??? He couldn't get it to back up again!!! Tried for about 5 mins..then had all of us get off the bus and he called for another one. The family with the ECV was not amused. And then they went nutty when they found out that the bus wasn't going to take them to the GF...where they had ADRs. I told them that they could get off the bus and then just take the monorail over to the GF. Nope, they would get wet..they needed a way that they would stay dry. Man, they were hopping mad!!!
    But, when we finally pulled away from AKL, that bus was still sitting there, the driver scratching his head.
     
  20. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    Given the problems and idiosyncracies and irregularities mentioned above, I am convinced that the wheelchair slots in the buses should be regarded as a separate line item or commodity or resource whose utilization should be optimized as a separate important topic.

    If a few extra members of the handicapped person's family sneak on board sooner than they should, any impact is spread out over a larger population producing a much smaller per person impact and also this is easier to solve by adding a few more buses to the mix (schedule) in a general fashion as opposed to having to find a bus with a working lift to make a special run where a wheelchair problem occurred.
     
  21. SaraJayne

    SaraJayne <font color=red>Stop moving those smilies! <img sr

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    So everyone that is already on a loaded bus, waiting to leave, has to wait until someone in an EVC is boarded onto a different bus?

    I don't see that going over well.
     

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