COMMUTE

Metro broken elevator leaves disabled commuter stranded

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For the past 30 years, Denise Decker has relied on memory, sound and her seeing eye dog, Wonder, to navigate the Metro morning rush. When Metro functions properly, it’s not a problem.

But when things don't go as planned, Decker says she's left in the dark.

"It can be dangerous and it's certainly an inconvenience,” Decker says. “ I've waited upwards of two hours for a shuttle bus that has never shown up.”

Because of Wonder, Decker can't use a moving escalator. It could potentially break the dog’s back feet. So she uses the elevator to exit the station.

“But when the elevator isn't working …not getting help I need - it's frustrating,” Decker says.

Those frustrations came to a boil recently when a broken elevator made Decker an hour late for work. She says she asked the station attendant to arrange shuttle bus service at another station - a requirement under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But the attendant said she couldn’t help.

And Decker says a simple fix that's not addressed can lead to a scary situation.

“I don't like the idea that someone could be stranded on a platform as I was,” Decker says.

Metro apologized and says it provides extensive ADA training to its employees to accommodate the 16 million disabled riders who use Metrorail, MetroBus and Metro Access annually.

Also, as part of it's sweeping effort to overhaul and improve the rail system, Metro is in the process of rebuilding all of the elevators at each station, including the one where Decker was stranded.

Decker says there have been some helpful Metro employees, but it's usually the passengers who tend to provide the most assistance.

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