Transit Plus Service Does Not Provide Enough Accessibility to Southridge
Supervisor Patricia Jursik Says Bus Stop at Mall Entrance Still Needed for Safety
Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said today that management of Southridge Mall was being disingenuous in suggesting that Milwaukee County’s Transit Plus paratransit service provided adequate access for disabled people at the mall entrance.
Southridge management, Simon Property Group, of Indianapolis, moved regular bus stops at the mall entrance on Nov. 1 of last year, requiring disabled people to walk 1,000 ft. from the replacement bus stop to the mall entrance. Because Southridge management still allows paratransit vehicles to stop near the mall entrance, they claim the disabled have access.
“The fact is that only a fraction of disabled people are eligible to use paratransit,” Jursik said. “The Simon Property Group policy regarding transit users at Southridge is not consistent with the values of Milwaukee County. We do not treat our elderly, disabled and impaired citizens in this manner. For Simon to suggest that paratransit provides sufficient access to the mall is disingenuous at best and dangerous to the disabled at worst.”
Those actually eligible for paratransit cannot independently board, ride or get off the bus, or they have a disability-related condition that makes it impossible to independently travel to or from a fixed bus stop. Currently there are about 5,000 Transit Plus users in Milwaukee County, but Jursik said there were many more disabled people who must still travel 1,000 ft. to the mall entrance.
“There are many situations in which an individual may be disabled but not eligible for Transit Plus,” Jursik said. “There are too many people with disabilities to have been forced to traverse dangerous roads and parking lots without sidewalks or curbs in order to get from the current bus stop to the mall entrance. I repeat my request that Southridge reconsider this decision and eliminate the hazardous conditions for disabled people.”
Jursik added that using the bus is more cost-effective than Transit Plus and that even those who are eligible find themselves waiting up to 25 minutes for a ride. In addition, each paratransit trip costs taxpayers nearly $32 and cost the passengers $3.50.
“For some people with disabilities, Transit Plus can be the answer,” Jursik said. “But many disabled people are not eligible for the program and must use the bus. To say that by allowing paratransit vehicles to come to the mall entrance Southridge remains accessible to the disabled is just plain wrong. Simon Property Group needs to admit that they made a mistake when they moved the bus stop and bring it back to the mall entrance so that everyone can enjoy their shopping experience.”
For a review of a full report on paratransit users use this link http://county.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cntySupervisors/jursik/pressreleases/2012-2016/03_17_2014TransitPlusUsersDefi.pdf
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