Disabled passenger says she was kicked off paratransit bus

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF)  A local woman says she got kicked off a paratransit bus. The incident left her scrambling to try to get to her dialysis appointment, but SEPTA says there's more to the story.

Sharon Erwin, of Darby, goes to dialysis three days a week.  Each time she calls Community Transit, which is a SEPTA subcontractor but for some reason she says Tuesday they didn't approve of the way she paid the 4 dollar fare.

"I gave him a token, two dollars and 20 cents. He told me he can't take it that way. I said I couldn't get out because I'm a double amputee. I had no way of getting anymore tokens," Erwin told FOX 29.

Erwin told FOX 29 not only did the driver refuse the payment but when she questioned him and a supervisor they removed her from the bus and refused to take her to her appointment

SEPTA  tells a different story. SEPTA issued the following statement:

"While we regret the inconvenience caused by this incident, fare policies are provided to all passengers before they sign up for SEPTA CCT Connect paratransit service. SEPTA’s fare tariff requires CCT Connect customers to pay with one of three options: $4 cash; 2 tokens and $.40; or by using a Zone 2 or higher TrailPass. This fare policy for CCT Connect was put in place as part of an overall effort to standardize payment so that service is not delayed.

SEPTA is always looking for ways to better accommodate our customers, and in light of this incident, we will review the CCT fare policy to see if we can provide additional payment options. In the meantime, we would like to remind customers to continue to pay CCT Connect fares by using one of the three available options under the existing fare tariff."

Erwin told FOX 29's Bill Anderson that she was frustrated that someone who uses the service regularly couldn't be accommodated and hopes that in the future some sort of compromise could be reached.

FOX 29 spoke to SEPTA reps on the phone and they explained that the policies don't allow driver discretion and are in place to remove confusion and customer payment issues in the past. Erwin says she understands that but maintains that compassion should've been more important than policy.


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