Call To Action: Let San Antonio’s Transit Service Know That RA Often Requires Special Accommodations

Handicapped Student Denied From VIA Trans Bus Service

SAN ANTONIO — A handicapped student was denied from using the city’s handicapped bus system. Moses Rivas, 30, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. The debilitating condition came on suddenly, just a couple of years after he graduated from high school.

Despite his disability, last year Rivas built up the courage to go back to school.

“I want to do something for myself and be independent,” said Rivas. “Even though I have a disability, I can still do stuff.” [...]

Last year, Via Trans denied him service. Officials say their assessment found Rivas capable of using the regular bus system.

Read More: www.woai.com/news/local/story/Handicapped-student…

VIA Metropolitan Transit – San Antonio, Texas

Please send a message to VIA Metropolitan Transit through their Online Comment Form (Address your comments to: Customer Service) and let them know that most individuals who live with Rheumatoid Arthritis do require special accommodations, especially when it comes to public transportation.

16 Comments
16 comments
  1. RA Guy says:

    I just submitted my comments, as follows:

    “Dear Via Metropolitan Transit,

    It was with much sadness that I read WOAI.com’s report about Moses Rivas being denied use of the city’s handicapped bus system. While signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis may not always be physically visible, the disability that this disease causes for many people who live with it IS real.

    According to the report, Mr. Rivas completed the required application process, in order to return to school. It is honorable that despite the chronic debilitating illness with which he lives, he still continues to move forward with his plans to attend college.

    It is particularly disheartening that an individual who should be granted use of the city’s handicapped bus system is instead being denied. A representative of ‘Via Trans told News 4 WOAI that they recommend that Rivas reapply.’ Mr. Rivas HAS ALREADY done what he should have. Now it’s time for Via Trans to do what it needs to do, and accept Mr. Rivas’ request.

    Sincerely,
    RA Guy

    P.S. I will be sharing your response with readers of my blog.”

  2. Jennifer says:

    I did one too RA Guy :-)

    This is most disappointing to read regarding your denial of Moses Rivas using the city’s handicapped bus system for him to continue on with his education. I am reading this in Melbourne Australia, so it has gone global.
    http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/Handicapped-student-denied-from-VIA-Trans-bus/6GSFmYLlTUuc7i7PMR847Q.cspx
    I would suggest after having Rheumatoid Arthritis for the last 19 years that it is most debilitating and your staff/assessors need more training if they a denying someone that has issues walking, walking distances and walking fast across city roads.
    My husband drives and picks me up from work each day as he knows it helps with my pain and fatigue leaves but I go to work as my brain works and it gives me a sense of achievement.
    I presume that this service has been put into place for anyone that has a disability ………… except Rheumatoid Arthritis. That would be discrimination.
    Please give this young adult a chance to finish his schooling, achieve something and move on with his life despite the pain and fatigue of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for the rest of his life .

  3. Deb aka murphthesurf says:

    Message sent. I will try my best to get the word out through the avenues I have available. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am tired of the prejudice that comes with this disease and disgusted of the continued ignorance that is rampant.

  4. Kat says:

    I could not believe this at first when I read it. Hoping the company would say it was the driver who denied, but… Seriously. Driving during a flare is so difficult. I try to NOT drive because I can’t hold onto the steering wheel, I use the cross bars to keep the vehicle straight. There are even times when I have a hard time operating the pedals because my hips or knees or feet hurt too much. Oh, and heaven forbid I need to look behind me when my neck is flaring. Those are times I have my children look for me. I just want to shake these people and say, “LOOK!”

  5. Carolyn says:

    I am concerned at the use of the word ‘handicapped’ in relation to Moses and the bus system. I have RA and find it really offensive to be called ‘handicapped’ which is a really outdated word and suggests cap in hand. In the UK, the use of this word is no longer acceptable, and the word ‘disabled’ is seen as a more appropriate word to use. What do other people think?

  6. Jolene says:

    Message sent to VIA. I also prefer ‘disabled’, but am not offended by ‘handicapped’ since the word is still so widely used in society.

  7. Ruth says:

    I sent my 2c worth as well. It is smacking of discrimination (on many fronts including RA)that they rejected him out of hand so to speak. He would do well to inform the media locally if they continue to reject his request. And file discrimination practices against VIA.

  8. Sue aka 1RAChickie says:

    I posted comments on the WOAI site and will be writing to the VIA. How can they judge what is a disability when guidelines have already been set by the Social Security Department

  9. RA Guy says:

    Thanks to everyone for submitting all of their comments. I received the following response from VIA. Let’s hope that they evaluate Mr. Rivas’ application APPROPRIATELY this time around.

    “Dear Sir,

    Mr. Rivas has reapplied for VIAtrans Paratransit service, and his application is being re-evaluated.

    Stephen Andy Scheidt
    Public Information Coordinator
    VIA Metropolitan Transit
    800 West Myrtle
    San Antonio, TX 78212″

  10. Deb aka murphthesurf says:

    This is the response I received from them….

    Good afternoon:

    Thank you for your comments regarding Moses Rivas and the recent WOAI-TV news story regarding him. Mr. Rivas has already re-applied for VIAtrans paratransit service, and his application is under review.

    Though Mr. Rivas was denied VIAtrans service in early 2010 based on a functional assessment, his new application will reflect his functional ability as it is today. Should his application be denied, Mr. Rivas will have the opportunity to go through a multi-step appeals process that includes a committee of local elected officials and disability advocates, the same process he did not complete when he was denied service in 2010.

    Again, Mr. Rivas has re-applied for VIAtrans service and is being evaluated. And we thank you for your concern.

    SOUNDS LIKE A BUNCH OF POLITICALLY CORRECT MARLARKY TO ME!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I got a response too :-)

    Good afternoon:

    Thank you for your comments regarding Moses Rivas and the recent WOAI-TV news story regarding him. Mr. Rivas has already re-applied for VIAtrans paratransit service, and his application is under review.

    Though Mr. Rivas was denied VIAtrans service in early 2010 based on a functional assessment, his new application will reflect his functional ability as it is today. Should his application be denied, Mr. Rivas will have the opportunity to go through a multi-step appeals process that includes a committee of local elected officials and disability advocates, the same process he did not complete when he was denied service in 2010.

    Again, Mr. Rivas has re-applied for VIAtrans service and is being evaluated. And we thank you for your concern.

  12. Dadwithra says:

    This is the response I received today:

    Good afternoon:

    Thank you for your comments regarding Moses Rivas and the recent WOAI-TV news story regarding him. Mr. Rivas has already re-applied for VIAtrans paratransit service, and his application is under review.

    Though Mr. Rivas was denied VIAtrans service in early 2010 based on a functional assessment, his new application will reflect his functional ability as it is today. Should his application be denied, Mr. Rivas will have the opportunity to go through a multi-step appeals process that includes a committee of local elected officials and disability advocates, the same process he did not complete when he was denied service in 2010.

    Again, Mr. Rivas has re-applied for VIAtrans service and is being evaluated. And we thank you for your concern.

    Do any of you feel like slapping them too?

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