A Fredericksburg, Va., man is back on the bus after a year ban. George Lewis, 45, who has cerebral palsy, was banned from Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) after being told his wheelchair exceeded the federal limit of 600 pounds. FRED alleged Lewis’ chair was bending the lift and difficult to secure.
Having ridden for years without incident, Lewis vowed to fight. The disAbility Resource Center helped Lewis research regulations. In the meantime, his friends ran errands for him. If he wanted to go anywhere, Lewis had to drive his chair on the road.
In his research, Lewis discovered the Department of Transportation’s common wheelchair dimensions were repealed in 2011, after transit operators had excluded large wheelchairs. Buses must now carry the wheelchair and occupant if the lift can accommodate them.
Armed with the updated regulations, Lewis met with FRED last month and was immediately reinstated. He has been riding the past three weeks and feels vindicated. Lewis has advice for people in similar situations. “Don’t give up,” he says.