Seeking the right to ride public transportation - | WBTV Charlotte

Seeking the right to ride public transportation

(Source: Charlotte Area Transit System) (Source: Charlotte Area Transit System)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

An elderly woman who needs a wheelchair wants a safer solution to get to her doctor appointments.

Linda Yarborough says she leaves her senior living apartment to meet a Charlotte Area Transit Service Special Transportation Service (CATS) van at the Goodwill, which is more than a block away.

Getting to a pick-up point for a CATS vehicles means navigating blemished asphalt. She's not just worried about herself.

"They can't get over here on a walker or a cane," Yarborough said.

Yarborough is an amputee and routinely navigates a strip mall parking lot to access public transportation. She said she's been told that the CATS specialty vehicles can't pick her up at home since they don't service North Charlotte's University Square Apartments.

"Because we're one block outside of the bus line where they would go, we really become disqualified," she said.

City council member Greg Phipps wants to know more from CATS because Yaborough lives in his district.

"Here you have a situation where a senior citizen that may be disabled is having to go through all of those trials and tribulations just to be picked up for some services," Phipps said. "It just doesn't make sense."

Thursday morning, a specially-equipped vehicle did pick Yarborough up for her doctor's appointment.

After complaining to the city, she was told they would show up at her apartment as a one-time only gesture. She now wants CATS to take notice of her situation.

"We're as valuable as those other people you pick up on a bus line," she said.

Late Thursday afternoon, CATS released a statement regarding the situation.

STS provides door-to-door transit services within ¾ of a mile of all local fixed-route bus routes. This is our first priority, as it is required by the federal government under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

STSII operates in Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Mint Hill and the unincorporated areas of Mecklenburg County, as capacity allows. STS II is not required under the ADA.

According to Yarborough, she is outside of the Cats zone.

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