You Can’t be for Equality and Against Public Transportation

Published: Mar 22, 2017

According to some media sources, Seattle is waging a War on Cars (and to think those poor soldiers just wrapped up this year’s War on Christmas).

Seattle residents are bemoaning the removal of parking spaces, the lowering of speed limits, and a dramatic increase in the cost of registering a vehicle with the city. In response, many of them started voting against initiatives that would bring greater amounts of and access to public transportation options like buses and light rail.

To all those people: Go Fuck Yourself

The unemployed rate for people with physical disabilities hovers somewhere near 65% as of 2015. Speaking from experience, you know what the largest barrier to employment is for disabled people? Transportation.

Cars are inherently inaccessible to anyone without two functional feet. In order to make a car accessible at even the most basic level it:

  1. Needs to be large enough to store the mobility aid of the person driving the vehicle, so those hyperÐefficient commuter vehicles aren’t an option.
  2. Needs to be heavily modified to accommodate whatever controls will be needed for the disabled drive to safely operate the vehicle.

If you exclude lift‐enabled vans (which can cost $3,500 to $14,000 on top of the price of the vehicle), that leaves you with some kind of Sudan or SUV and the cost of having it modified (several thousand).

Now that you have a vehicle, you have to pay someone to train you how to drive with the hand controls (a common scenario given that most disabled folks able to afford a car and get a license will do so well after they turn 16).

All of these costs create barriers to physical and financial independence. All of these barriers help keep disabled people in poverty. All of these barriers become moot if they have access to reliable public transportation.

And before you start trying to tell me about accessible ride share and van services or taxi cabs or that thing Uber tried to to make themselves seem like less of an asshole, I’ll stop you right now and let you know they’re all bullshit.

Having to wait over an hour for the one accessible taxi cab to show up is bullshit.

Having to schedule a ride somewhere days in advance so you can use the accessible van is bullshit.

Having to order (and pay out the nose for) an Uber black SUV because you know it’s the only size of vehicle that can handle your wheelchair is fucking bullshit.

Thinking self‐driving cars will solve the problem is futuristic bullshit. Cars were designed for both ambulatory drivers and passengers in mind. Having robots drive them changes nothing.

Voting against public transportation initiatives in your city / neighborhood because it’ll raise your property taxes (or whatever) while simultaneously claiming to be for accessibility and equality is some ableist bullshit.

If you really care about the disabled and their access to employment, healthcare, and public spaces, you need to start caring about their access to transportation. There’s a reason you hardly ever see us out in public: It’s often impossible for us to get there.