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Public Hearings Set on Transportation for Disabled

Oct. 11, 2005 –– The Disability Rights Center of the Virgin Islands and the Public Works Department will jointly hold a series of town meetings to find out about the public transportation needs of disabled residents.
The meetings will be held Oct. 18 at the Curriculum Center on St. Croix, Oct. 20 at the American Legion Hall on St. Thomas and Oct. 21 at Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John. All meetings begin at 6 p.m.
Disability Rights Center attorney Archie Jennings said that input from residents will help Public Works establish priorities when it comes to using its VITRAN buses with wheelchair lifts.
"Where are the critical bus stops," he said.
He said that while Public Works has had vans to transport disabled residents and visitors, it recently acquired conventional buses with wheelchair lifts to use on its regular routes.
Jennings said the wheelchair accessible buses came as a result of a class action suit filed by the Disability Rights Center, then called V.I. Advocacy Inc., in December 2001.
He said the town meetings will help Public Works determine how to best serve disabled riders.
The Disabilities Rights Center filed the lawsuit after residents complained about broken VITRAN bus wheel chair lifts, lack of curb-to-curb service, and the shortage of transit routes for people who use wheelchairs.
A settlement was reached May 4
Representatives from Public Works and the Disability Rights Center will explain the details of the settlement, consumer rights pertaining to fair and equal access to public transportation and policies concerning Public Works Para transit services.
Call 772-1200 for more information.

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