On March 25, 2019, a disabled woman in a wheelchair named Emma Vogelmann made headlines after winning in court against a taxi driver in London. The taxi driver reportedly started the taximeter before her wheelchair was loaded, thus, overcharging her in the journey.
Emma’s legal win reflects on the experiences of many PWD’s on transportation: paying extra, being refused, and discriminated. These constraints exacerbate the economic, social, and personal isolation of persons with disabilities. Thus, more and more handicapped individuals feel marooned and excluded.
For this reason, it is important for the disabled community to take the time and effort to report any discriminatory incident. Feedback can assist in improving industry policies and may lead to larger changes or protections in state or federal laws. With that said, here are a few steps to follow:
Step 1: Address The Problem Directly To The Person
If you feel uncomfortable or that something is not right, then it’s time to speak up. Don’t be afraid nor shy to do so, it’s better to know what’s going on than simply speculating. Doing so will also help you become aware of your rights and responsibilities.
Also, don’t pull out the big guns yet. If you feel like the situation could be resolved without the attention of higher officials, then that’s great. It will save you from unnecessary drama, time, and money.
Step 2: Ask To Speak With A Supervisor
First off, try to calmly negotiate with the service personnel to the steps that you believe would lead to a safer solution. If it fails, ask to speak to a supervisor or someone else who can solve the issue. Most transportation agencies have telephone numbers that you can dial for any concerns.
As for an air-travel, you can approach a Complaint Resolution Official as they are responsible for resolving disability-related issues. CRO’s are present at every site and are also available by phone.
NOTE: If you feel threatened, safely distance yourself and dial 911.
Step 3: Collect Necessary Information For Official Complaint
It is crucial for a conflicted passenger to take note of important details so as to have an effective resolution. Here’s a list of things that you might need to gather:
- Approximate time of the incident
- Company name
- Involved employee name(s)
- Employee contact information
- Driver permit number
- Vehicle license plate
- Flight/train/route number
These are the necessary information that you need in order to file an official complaint. You can save it in your phone, notebook, camera – as long as it is comprehensive. Keep in mind that it could happen to you or anyone again. Your records could help raise awareness for the transportation agency and prevent it from reoccurring.
Step 4: Contact Agencies/Departments
Reporting your bad transportation experience to government agencies such as the Department of Transportation is a sure way to get your issues solved. These departments are responsible for monitoring the performance of transportation service providers – both private and public. So, if you’ve got a problem with their service, it’s best for you to approach these departments.
Please take note that there are different agencies responsible for each type of transport. Take the time to know which agency is accountable for your complaint. If you submitted your concern to an aviation department whilst you’re having issues with a taxicab, then nothing will happen.
Step 5: Share Your Experience
Share your experiences on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Highlight the certain events that led to your dismay – what exactly happened? Elaborate those points so people will have a better understanding about your situation. If your experience is common for disabled individuals, perhaps it’s time to come together as a community and advocate a transportation policy change initiative.
You should also get to know your transportation rights to further strengthen your complaint.
Help us make your transportation experience more enjoyable by sharing this with your friends and family!