Access changes affect disabled passengers

LEMMON VALLEY, NV (KOLO) Janice Buse was able to use the RTC Access bus service because it picked her up at home and took her to doctors' visits and other errands. But RTC gave her and other disabled passengers a six-month notice saying Access would not be as accessible.

“I kind of wonder if they don't think this is a good way to get rid of us,” says Buse. “Because we will get so frustrated and so irritated, all of these people will get so frustrated that they won't even call anymore,” she says.

Janice Buse was diagnosed with gynecological cancer in 2011. That was followed by radiation and chemotherapy and, just as with many cancer patients, Janice suffers from the side effects like lymphedema, where her body retains fluids.

She can barely walk on her legs.

“But I'm going to guess, each thigh is at least 25 inches, So I'll say, 15 pounds of water in each leg,” says Buse.

For years, she took advantage of the RTC's Access bus program where a driver would come pick her up at her home and take her to doctors' appointments, pharmacy, grocery store, and hair appointments.

Then last September the RTC told her and other passengers with disabilities the program would be limited.

“Previously our services were above and beyond ADA-compliant. We actually brought them to ADA compliance due to funding reasons,” says Lauren Ball with RTC.

As a result Linda must buy taxi bucks to drive her to the RTC's service area, about three miles from her home. That comes to an additional $20 a trip.

Combined, the Access ride which she will take from the bus stop she adds an additional $6 round trip. She says on a fixed income it all adds up.

She's frustrated, she says, as she's now paying more for the service. And because of her legs, getting in and out of a taxi these days is nearly impossible.

“I cannot bend my legs. I cannot turn my body the way you do to get into a car. And I can't bend my leg,” says Buse.

“We do feel for her, and that's why we want to work with her to find the best options be can,” says Ball.

The RTC says it's received few complaints about the new and limited Access service, saying it will contact Janice to see what more they can do to help her get to other appointments.

While she does have a door-to-door service to medical visits she is happy with, she says this new limited Access service is otherwise turning her into a shut-in.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019