Celebrating 23rd Anniversary of
Americans with Disabilities Act
This month marks the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H. W. Bush. The bill’s author, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), delivered part of his speech in sign language so his deaf brother could understand.
The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that protects Americans with disabilities in much the same way that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected against discrimination based on race, etc.
Anthony Foxx, who was sworn in this month as the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation, has talked about transportation as a ”lifeline connecting people with opportunities and services.” Transportation plays an important role in giving Americans equal access to a wide range of resources, despite any limitations of disability.
“Local leaders are creating connected communities,” a recent issue of FAST LANE, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation, pointed out. “And when people of all abilities are connected, they have access to all of the benefits and opportunities a community offers.”
Blue Water Area Transit shares this understanding of the power of transportation to connect communities. By providing access to everyone, including persons with disabilities, this can become a very strong connection.
Lift-equipped buses provide on-call and fixed-route service for persons with disabilities within our fixed-route service areas.
Persons may call 987.7373 to apply for a handicap or ADA identification card to receive discounts and services. In addition, persons with visual impairments may request Braille, black and white, or large print copies of our system map.
Braille Resources Help
Visually Challenged BWAT Riders
Blind passengers may request Braille resources for navigating our eight Port Huron Area routes. BWAT designed these materials to put visually challenged riders who read Braille on an equally informed level as sighted passengers.
The Braille resources include bus schedules and narrative descriptions for all eight routes, as well as a set of bus-flagging cards that are designed to help blind passengers flag down the right bus. Each card is enclosed in plastic and identified with Braille labels.
BWAT’s Braille resources were developed by Michael Geno, from the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, who was also a frequent local passenger. His unique user background allowed him to develop resources that were meaningful for passengers traveling by bus, despite vision loss.
Geno first developed the concept of using Braille route descriptions to help blind passengers navigate the Lansing bus system in 1977. He later applied the concept to Blue Water Area Transit system map and bus schedules in 1994.
By involving a Braille user in the development of our resources, Geno believed that we “set a higher standard” for insuring materials would be meaningful to blind users.
Braille is a tactile communication system that blind individuals use to help them read and write. The system uses character cells that each contain a combination of six raised dots that are “read” by touching them and interpreting their patterns.
The Blue Water League of the Blind offers a wide range of nonprofit Braille services to help local businesses and families address the needs of blind individuals.
Passengers who read Braille may obtain a set of resources from Blue Water Area Transit without charge by calling 810.987.7373.
Where Can I Go for a Dime?
Historic Trolley Tour
Every day during the summer, BWAT offers one of Michigan’s finest tourist values (fare is still only ten cents). The one-hour tour swings by various local points of interest… down city streets and along the town’s scenic riverfront. One of these is:
Named for business pioneer and early-century Congressman Henry G. McMorran, the foundation was set up by Andrew J. Murphy and two McMorran sisters: Mrs. Emma McMorran Murphy (wife to Andrew) and Mrs. Clara McMorran Mackenzie. Two additional trustees were Alex J. Theisen, a long time business associate and counselor to the McMorran family, and Mr. J. Grant Moore, a local insurance broker. During the next decade, the Foundation and these families would support this project with donations of $3.5 million ($26 million in 2010 dollars). The announcement electrified the community, as well as a large area beyond.
McMorran Complex today consists of one of the finest community auditoriums in the country and two arenas that not only provide ice for hockey and other skating events, but which have become centers for a myriad of non-ice programs and cultural activities. Click on the Destinations tab above for more details.
Til Next Time,
Jim Wilson, BWAT General Manager