Bus riders with disabilities do not get seated first on Golden Empire Transit

Disabled bus riders not seated first

Riding the bus can get crowded, and sometimes there's not enough room for everyone. But what about people with disabilities? 
 
One bus rider in a wheelchair says he was left behind. 
 
"The able-bodied people began loading, leaving me in the back of the line," said Richard Rodriguez. Rodriguez is the Vice Chair of People First of Kern County. He has a disability that hinders him from speaking, and he must also use a wheelchair. He frequents the Golden Empire Transit bus. The last time he took it on Monday, he had a problem getting on. 
 
"The driver told me that there was no room. The driver left Jonathan and I at the curb, and pulled away," said Rodriguez.
 
 Richard's friend Jonathan was with him at the time and also felt discriminated against. 
 
"I told her, what's wrong, you could have taken him and me to get on the bus, and she said 'sorry, I can't do that,'" said Jonathan.
 
Spokespeople with Golden Empire Transit told us people are not required to move to make room for other riders, including those in wheelchairs. 
 
"The bus was full, and no one would move for this customer. The next bus came about 15 minutes later and the customer did board that bus," said spokesperson Gina Hayden.   
 
GET officials also added that although it is not a requirement, drivers should be courteous to disabled people, seniors, or mothers with young children, and let them sit first.
 
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