Disabled woman says she was forced off MARTA Mobility bus over m - CBS46 News

Disabled woman says she was forced off MARTA Mobility bus over motorized wheelchair

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

A disabled woman says she was forced off a MARTA Mobility bus because she refused to power down her motorized wheelchair.

Jessica Blinkhorn has spinal muscular atrophy, which means she can't move her legs or arms. Her electric wheelchair is all she has.

To get around, she uses MARTA Mobility, the rail and bus company's paratransit service.

Monday's ride was unlike any experience she's had in the last decade. It all started when the driver asked her to follow the rules and shut down her wheelchair.

"The chair is off, the seat is not," says Blinkhorn. "It's two different parts. The bottom part's the chair, the top part's the seat."

Only offering to keep it in seat mode, Blinkhorn says she was then given an ultimatum -- turn off her chair or get off the bus.

"If I turn if off, five seconds to be able to do that, so if I see a bump coming up and I need to tilt back for my own safety, I need to do that quick enough," says Blinkhorn. "If I fall forward, I can't sit myself up."

Upset, Blinkhorn decided to go home.

CBS46 reached out to MARTA and surprisingly got a much different story. A spokesperson said the following:

"Ms. Blinkhorn was unaware of a function on her wheelchair that would allow for the drive portion to be turned off and still allow her the ability to adjust her settings, such as seat placement."

"My chair will not drive in seat mode," says Blinkhorn. "I even demonstrated for her what I was talking about."

CBS46 reached out to MARTA again, asking the spokesperson to clarify their statement as it contradicts Blinkhorn's story. The spokesperson says the MARTA Mobility team will continue to investigate Blinkhorn's concerns, and if warranted, corrective action will be taken.

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