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Local advocates fight for safer bus stops for diabled riders

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 21:25:50-04

Local advocates are fighting for safer bus stops around Kern County. 

Ron Ferguson, System Change Advocate for the Independent Living Center of Kern County, and his team are working to make sure all GET bus stops are easily accessible for disabled riders. 

At a bus stop near Belle Terrace and New Stein Harvey Clowers demonstrated how it was difficult for himself, and others in wheelchairs, to get on a bus at the stop. 

"It's completely inaccessible. It's about an 8-inch curb on either side. I can't get up there, I can't get down," said Clowers. 

That stop is one of the few stops left within city limits that needs to be fixed. Advocates said after many years of work, almost all stops within Bakersfield city limits are up to date so now, they're shifting their focus to county stops. 

"We're going out into the county areas and we're taking pictures of the non-accessible bus stops," said Ferguson. 

No cement, no red curbs, and no curb cuts are just a few things advocates are looking for at every bus stops. 

"Something else I'm looking for is -- I want to make sure the area is kind of safe and secure for the passenger that is taking the bus," said Ferguson. 

The group is now compiling a list of stops that need attention and plan on taking that list to the county.

"We all have to come together as a community and let our local agencies know about these spots so that they can get fixed," said Clowers. 

Linn Brooks, Assistant Public Works Director, said the county already has plans in motion to fix many of the stops. 

On Tuesday the county was set to secure a contractor who would fix the stops and expected the contractor to start work within four to six weeks. 

Brooks said the contractor will be working on at least a dozen stops. 

Brooks suggested any riders with complaints or concerns about bus stops contact GET Bus or the Kern County Public Works and they will look into repairing the stop as soon as possible.