Rider appalled at MBTA bus driver who refused to stop for woman with walker

Rider appalled at MBTA bus driver who refused to stop for woman with walker

BOSTON — An MBTA rider says she's appalled after seeing her bus driver refuse to stop for an older woman with her walker.

It was already hard enough for the woman to board the bus in the correct spot due to her walker and all the snow and ice in the way.

"We should be designing for the lowest common denominator - children, the elderly, people with mobility impairments and that includes maintaining the stops especially in the winter where snow is a huge challenge," said Julia Wallerce, the rider who witnessed the situation unfold.

Content Continues Below

Wallerce said she was riding the bus home on Thursday night to Winthrop when she saw a woman with her walker waiting to board her bus in East Boston.

"The bus driver had been radioed by another driver saying, 'There's a woman with a walker standing in the street can you get her?' And my bus driver said 'I'm pretty full here, I don’t think we can fit her' and me standing right next to her said, 'Oh we can fit her in, we can scooch in!'" said Wallerce.

According to Wallerce, there was enough room for the woman to squeeze inside the bus, but the driver never stopped to wait for her in the cold.

Wallerce says she's not sure how much longer the woman would've had to wait for the next bus in the freezing cold.

"It was very sad to watch them throw up their hands, it was cold, it was dark, they had been waiting for a while and we just left her standing there in the cold," said Wallerce.

The MBTA told Boston 25 News that, while this is one of their routes, the bus was operated by Paul Revere Transportation. The MBTA also released the following statement to Boston 25 News:

Paul Revere reports the passenger volume on the bus was at capacity and unable to accommodate additional passengers.  The bus driver radioed the dispatcher and the next bus accommodated the passenger a short time later.

Boston 25 has since reached out to Paul Revere about what happened, but have not heard back.

While Wallerce is giving the driver the benefit of the doubt and saying it might not have been their fault, she hopes that this story will bring attention to some much deserved changes, such as to clear pathways at bus stops, especially in the winter.

"There may have been a protocol where you can’t board passengers from that part of the street to which the solution should have been, there shouldn’t be blocks of ice and snow on the curb making it impossible for people to board the bus especially our most vulnerable," said Wallerce.

Witnesses say that snow and ice aren't the only issues at this bus stop; they say there aren't any clearly marked bus stops signs in the area.