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LCC student in wheelchair says she was kept off LTD bus

The student said the bus driver told her she had to ask people to move from the "priority" seating area to make room for her.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 7:39 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A student is sharing her frustration after she said she couldn't get on a Lane Transit District bus because there wasn't enough room for her wheelchair.

Reanna Hensley is a student at Lane Community College. She suffers from cerebral palsy, which has made daily tasks difficult, including riding a bus twice a day to and from the LCC campus to her home.

Hensley said on Thursday afternoon the bus was very crowded. She said the driver told her there was no room for her and another passenger who was also in a wheelchair.

Hensley said the driver told her he was not allowed to ask passengers sitting in the "priority" seating area -- which is designated for people with disabilities -- to make room for her and told her she has to be the one to ask people to move. Hensley said she would be uncomfortable doing that.

"I have feelings, too. I am very aware of all the comments,” Hensley said. “I am aware of the body language. I am aware of the stares, and I go home every night with those stares in my mind."

Meg Kester, a spokesperson with LTD said Hensley's incident was very unfortunate. She said they typically carry between 13,000 and 15,000 passengers each month that use mobility devices.

Kester said it's an ADA law and in LTD's procedure to have their drivers ask able-bodied passengers to make room for people with disabilities or mobility devices in the "priority" seating portion of the bus. However, if the passenger refuses to move, the driver cannot force them to move.

Kester said they are looking into the incident. She said LTD’s number one priority is the safety and care of their passengers.

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