ATLANTA — Many people who use a southwest Atlanta MARTA station are voicing their frustration because there are signs that indicate the station is accessible for the handicapped, but once they get through the gates, they discover it’s anything but.
Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon started to look into the matter Wednesday evening, when he met Gwendolyn Bell.
She told him she needed to get to the emergency room because of her sciatica. But when she got to the Oakland City MARTA station, she hit a roadblock.
Bell couldn’t get onto a MARTA train because the station doesn’t have an elevator, stranding people like her at the top of the stairs.
“That is not convenient for people who are handicapped,” Bell said, hanging on to her walker. “There’s no way I can pick this up and walk those stairs.”
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To many, it appears the station actually does have an elevator. Turns out, it’s just a mirage.
A MARTA representative told Wilfon when MARTA built the station 33 years ago, workers installed the elevator shaft and even a spot for the door, but never finished the job -- likely for financial reasons.
“I think it’s very inconvenient. You have people (who) are handicapped, people like me who are carrying luggage and then we have people (who) are pushing strollers,” MARTA rider Edward Davenport told Wilfon.
MARTA sent Wilfon a statement, saying: “We apologize for the inconvenience experienced by MARTA patrons and appreciate their patience.”
MARTA officials said they now plan to install an elevator in the station by this coming summer
-- a project some riders say took 33 years too long to finish.
“MARTA needs to get on the ball,” Bell said.
Handicapped riders hoping to board the train at the station can do it, but they have to go to another part of the station complex a couple of blocks away in order to catch the train.