Wheelchair-bound woman said she's constantly left behind by MART - CBS46 News

Wheelchair-bound woman said she's constantly left behind by MARTA

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What started as a campaign to find a wheelchair accessible van, turned into a fight for fair treatment after a wheelchair-bound woman said she was constantly left behind by the service she depends on.

"I've rode through urine, I've rolled through fecal matter, I've rolled through crack pipes and needles on MARTA elevators," said Jessica Blinkhorn.

Where most people can avoid such encounters by taking an escalator, or wiping it off, Blinkhorn has to carry it with her on her wheelchair. She has spinal muscular atrophy, which means she can't move her arms or legs. Nevertheless, she has to work and get around like everyone else, so she depends on MARTA.

In the seven years she's been riding, she said she's been told she didn't belong on the bus.

"I've had a fixed route bus driver tell me that I don't belong on this bus, MARTA didn't have time for me," Blinkhorn said.

She said she's been hurt, saying, "He swung me around, my head became lodged in the back of my chair, making it difficult to breathe."

She's even been stranded.

"I wound up urinating myself in 48-degree weather and sat for an hour and a half, waiting for my bus to get there," Blinkhorn said.

On Friday, Blinkhorn and others went after MARTA, protesting the system by rolling to nine different stations and voicing her frustrations from the Arts Center station all the way to the Lakewood/Fort McPherson station. 

But just before she left, she got a phone call. After months of complaints, only CBS46 was there when she finally heard from MARTA.

When CBS46 reached out to the transit authority to get answers, we were told Blinkhorn's wheelchair is hard to secure because of unusual dimensions.

"I just felt like they're trying to cover themselves and show on-camera that they do care, but where has their care been for the past three months, for the past three years," Blinkhorn added.

She said she also wants to start a fundraiser to help anyone who can't afford a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

After CBS46 pushed the issue, a MARTA spokesperson responded, saying MARTA is eager to address Blinkhorn's concerns.

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