Jade Theriault is a long time BART rider who is quadriplegic. She says that changes to stop fare evasion at stations have also made some stations less accessible for people with disabilities.
"I understand what the design is doing, but it's created some accessibility barriers in the process," she told ABC7 News.
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Theriault laid out her concerns in an open letter to BART that she posted on her Facebook page.
This is Jade Theriault--a longtime BART rider who is quadriplegic. She says new gates to stop fare evaders have unintentionally made some stations inaccessible for people w/ disabilities. She posted this open letter to @SFBART asking for change.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) February 3, 2020
More tonight on @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/aj7ehp9Dfg
"These new barriers have compromised my safety and job security," she wrote. "Please consider remodeling so as not to discriminate against disabled people."
Theriault said she new emergency gates are larger and heavier than the previous ones. They're now often locked, and if an agent isn't there she will get stuck unable to get out.
"If there's no agent and the gate is locked, I'm trapped in this weirdly enclosed area," she explained.
BART General Manager Bob Powers recently met with riders who have disabilities during a listening tour.
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A BART spokesperson says they are in the process of reaching out to Theriault. They would like to meet with her in person and they plan to provide her with a 24/7 number to call where a remote agent would be able to open the gates.
"We want BART to be available and accessible to everybody," Powers said.
We are in the process of reaching out to this rider to provide accommodations. Our Manager of Access would like to meet her on site and review the options to ensure BART is accessible at all times for her.— SFBART (@SFBART) February 4, 2020
Theriault believes more staffing and training could help. She wants BART to be aware that there are challenges that come with these new changes.
"Disabled people exist, we are everywhere," she said, "And we're going to start making a stink about it."
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