Cindy Bennett and Mike Mello were attempting to board a bus on Sunday afternoon that was headed for downtown Seattle, when they were suddenly ordered to get off because no ADA accessible seats were available.
“He kept saying the ADA section is full,” Bennett told KIRO 7. “He was yelling at us. It was in public. It was really demeaning.” Bennett and Mello both said the driver’s behavior made them feel unwelcome.
“Were we really in 2014 told to get off a bus? Did that just happen to us? That’s ridiculous,” Mello said.
The American Disabilities Act states that seats deemed ADA accessible are offered only as an option and are not mandatory.
“Just because we are eligible to sit [in] that section we have the choice not to do that. And we also have the choice to just be anywhere we want,” Mello said. “And this guy’s attitude was so rude and so hurtful I didn’t know how to respond to him I was in shock.”
‘He kept saying the ADA section is full. You’re going to have to get off the bus behind me,’ Cindy told KIRO 7. ‘He was yelling at us. It was in public. It was really demeaning.’
Mike added: ‘Were we really in 2014 told to get off a bus? Did that just happen to us? That’s ridiculous.’
The couple are now calling for all Metro drivers to get better training so that the same mistake is not repeated on city buses.
A Metro Transit spokesperson responded to the incident, acknowledging that disabled passengers are not required to sit in ADA accessible seats, and apologized for the driver’s ‘unacceptable’ behavior.
“We’re sorry for what these riders went through and the poor customer service they received,” spokesperson Jeff Switzer said in a statement. “We’re taking steps to prevent it from happening again and we’ll be reminding all 2,500+ operators of the proper procedures for helping customers with disabilities.”
Switzer said that “appropriate action” would be taken in regard to the bus driver.
“Every day our operators help riders get where they want to go, and we take great care to help riders with disabilities. What happened is unacceptable and we apologize.”
It added that the driver in question had been identified and his supervisor will now decide whether or not he will face any disciplinary action.
Read more: Daily Mail