Queens College’s shuttle bus, popular among students, is under scrutiny for its failure to accommodate students with disabilities.
This failure to provide special services to students is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ADA, passed in 1990, forbids discrimination against disabled people with work, life, school and transportation. One section highlights reasonable accommodation to the disabled, unless it creates “an undue financial burden on the public entity.” This includes places like QC.
Many students use the shuttle bus that provides service for students, faculty and staff. One bus leaves from the campus to Jamaica, while another goes to Flushing. Moreover, the Flushing bus offers a quick path from Queens Hall to the Student Union.
Ahsanul Mojumder, a senior, uses the shuttle bus regularly. He said the shuttle bus is a convenient, but felt it was not for disabled students.
“A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a student I had seen around campus, in a wheelchair, waiting for an MTA bus. I couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t waiting at the usual shuttle bus stop,” Mojumder said. “I realized the stairs on the bus weren’t wheelchair accessible, and he would have a really hard time getting on to the bus.”
QC officials are aware of the issue, but a general change to the program may not come soon. Currently, officials move classes of disabled students if they require the shuttle bus to go to a building like Queens Hall.
Alexandra Aguilar, a senior, said it was unfair for disabled students to pay a fee for the shuttle bus and not have access to it.
“I don’t believe it’s fair to handicapped students to not have the necessary aid at their disposal. Students are paying for the shuttle out of their tuition money. The shuttle bus should accommodate to students with disabilities if they are paying for it.” Aguilar said.
Students pay a $40 semester fee to fund the shuttle bus program, which began September 2015.
Michele Jackson, a senior, encouraged the college to take necessary steps to help students with disabilities.
“I think it would be great for the college to provide a number of wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses for students. If not, I would love to see the college provide other ways for handicapped students to access free transportation directly on and off campus if there are not already provisions in place for them to do so,” Jackson said.