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City bus drivers repeatedly deny disabled rider

2013-11-13 09:16 Web Editor: Li Yan

Several bus drivers repeatedly refused to allow a wheelchair-bound elderly man onto their buses in Xuhui district Monday evening because they were afraid to take responsibility for him, a company manager said Tuesday.

A resident surnamed Zhao reported seeing the man, who appeared to be in his 80s, struggling to wheel himself to the Shanghai South Long-distance Bus Station to catch a bus to his home in Jinshan district, according to a report Tuesday in the Shanghai Evening Post.

The elderly man told Zhao that he had come downtown for a doctor's appointment, but had to come alone because his children didn't live with him anymore, according to the report. Zhao helped the man to the bus station, where he waited for more than an hour as driver after driver refused to let him board.

The Shanghai Jinshan Bus Company, which operates the Shangshi line to Jinshan, does not have a policy barring disabled people from boarding its buses, said a company operations manager surnamed Wang.

"The disabled elderly man couldn't clearly remember his home address, so our bus drivers were worried that he wouldn't be able to safely find his way home without help, but it was clearly the wrong decision to just leave a disabled elderly person alone on the street," Wang told the Global Times.

Zhao called the police, but the responding officers were unable to convince the drivers to take the elderly man, the report said. Eventually, one of the line's bus drivers recognized the old man and allowed him to board because the driver knew where he lived.

The bus company plans to work with the Shanghai South Long-distance Bus Station in the future to better serve passengers with special needs, Wang said. If a similar case occurs, a bus driver could notify bus station staff to contact the disabled passenger's family for assistance.

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