Riders with disabilities say smaller Suffolk buses aren’t accommodating

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BABYLON -

Riders with disabilities and advocates say the new buses recently rolled out by Suffolk County Transit are not built to accommodate the disabled.

Paul Pressman, of West Islip, and other disability advocates took lawmakers on a tour Monday of one of the buses to show the purported problems.

"They didn't think about the design when they got these buses," says Pressman, who suffers from multiple medial disabilities. "Because they don't take buses, they didn't go inside and sit on the bus and see what it actually looked like."

Advocates say the steps and straps are too high, the seats and aisles are too narrow for wheelchairs and the ramp is unstable.

"I know the buses are now getting smaller and smaller, and it's because of finances -- I understand that," says Marilyn Tucci, of the Suffolk Independent Living Organization. "But you've got to remember people, human beings, are riding these buses."

Legislator Al Krupski says small-line buses are fuel-efficient and economical. He says they were purchased to run on routes with low ridership, including the route that stops at the Babylon LIRR station.

"There are some things we could do to make it more user friendly or safer, and some things may not warrant it, but we'll take suggestions," Krupski says.

Riders who spoke with News 12 say they hope the county will retrofit the buses to make it an easier ride.

Pressman says he plans to file a federal complaint, stating that the small-line buses fail to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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