MARC the Path

The clouds have gathered in out of nowhere. Up until a few minutes ago, the northeast part of my Washington, D.C. was adorned with bright, beautiful, warm sunshine. Vibrant flowers are blossoming all around this neighborhood.

With the weather being so welcoming and delightful on this Saturday, I went out to run some errands. One of the things I did was to purchase a ticket to Baltimore. When I got to the ticket counter, I was surprised to see there was no line. I wheeled up and asked the attendant if he could move to the wheelchair accessible, lower counter since I could not see nor hear him well in the regular height counters. My head didn't even touch the bottom of this part of the counter. He agreed and walked over.

Shortly after we started talking at the wheelchair accessible counter, this attendant tells me that he cannot purchase a ticket from that counter. It was either because he did not know the login to that computer or people simply could not purchase tickets there. I didn't quite register what he conveyed. We then had to go back to the tall counter area and yell back and forth in order to hear one another. So what is the point of the wheelchair accessible counter in the first place if it is not functional?

Since the Amtrak trains were faster than the MARC trains, I told my attendant I wanted to purchase an Amtrak ticket. He said okay, and after quite some time had passed, he told me the system was not letting him purchase a ticket. He asked his colleague and they both could not figure it out. They tried and tired and kept on trying. Finally he shared with me that the computer system was not allowing him to input in there that I was in a wheelchair and needed assistance transferring onto the train.

I finally gave up on them and told them to just purchase me a MARC train ticket. Sometimes when you are in a wheelchair, doing the smallest things can quickly become a BIG deal. You would think having existed since the year 1971, Amtrak and their employees would be properly trained on selling a wheelchair accessible seat by now. Some challenges wheelchair users have to endure are simply unnecessary and avoidable with a few simple measures.

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