Amanda Bird is questioning BC Transit’s treatment of people with accessibility issues in Williams Lake.
The 23-year-old pregnant mother of two said she was kicked off the bus Wednesday after the driver said her tandem stroller was too long.
“I’ve been riding the bus for three years with children and use this stroller all the time,” Bird said at her home. “But when I got on today the driver handed me a paper informing me I couldn’t ride the bus if my stroller is four feet long.”
Bird went home and measured her stroller. It’s actually three feet long and one foot wide.
“I was trying to get on the bus and pay at the same time, but I use the bus all the time,” Bird explained. “It’s my only mode of transportation.”
BC Transit said Thursday morning the company apologized for the incident.
“It sounds like this was a terrible experience,” media spokesperson Meribeth Burton said. “We have spoken to our operating partner and at this point it’s a bit of a he said, she said, but our customers are very important to us.”
There is a rule that strollers must be less than two feet wide and four feet long is because in the event of an emergency the aisle needs to be clear.
Operators, however, don’t get out and measure them, Burton said.
Strollers can be larger but have to be collapsed.
Bird lives at the Green Acres Trailer Park, a five-minute drive from downtown Williams Lake. When she called to complain about the driver’s actions, Transit told her they’d investigate. During a return call, Bird was informed the driver said he told her to get off the bus because she was having problems getting on with the stroller.
BC Transit will continue to investigate the incident and if it’s true Bird didn’t receive the service she should have, then the company will offer a refresher course to the driver, Burton said.
In the meantime, the experience has left Bird wondering how people with wheelchairs or accessibility issues are treated on city buses.
“Is the driver impatient with them too?” she asked. “That’s what I’m worried about.”