Disabled MATA customer turned away due to broken wheelchair ramp

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "This ramp will not work. The ramp on bus 4029 will not work," Steve Collins said in a video recorded last Friday.

The bus doors opened, but Collins had no way to get on.

"So, I can't get on this bus because I'm in a wheelchair?"

"To me, that is - that`s my freedom. That`s how I get around," Collins told WREG.

Collins is bound to a wheelchair after complications with his spine.

He recorded the video on the Route 50 bus line at Poplar and Highland when the bus driver told him the wheelchair ramp wasn't working.

"It wouldn't open. She tried to open it with her hands, with a tool - nothing worked," he said.

Part 37 of the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures “…100 percent of the buses in its fleet with which it provides fixed-route service are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs.”

"Well, it's not something that should have happened. Let me just put it like that," Nicole Lacey, spokesperson for the Memphis Area Transit Authority, said.

Lacey would not say if the agency violated the law but explained MATA was wrong.

"Our policy is that all of our buses are checked before they go out onto the roads are checked to make sure the wheelchair ramps are operational," Lacey told WREG.

This particular incident was never reported to customer service.

Still, while MATA is looking into it, it said the driver should have called the problem into a supervisor so the bus could be taken off of the streets and fixed.

"What I`d like to see happen is I`d like for them to not let the bus out of the bus barn if the handicap lift doesn't work," Collins said.

"What happened should not have happened, and we take full responsibility for that," Lacey said.