© 2018 by Kent Slocum. All Rights Reserved.

  • Kent Slocum

Letter To Lane Transit District



Dear Sirs:

At 7:38 AM on Friday, August 17, 2018, the bus driver for Route 51 barred me from boarding his bus. This was not because I wasn't wearing a shirt and pants (I was fully clothed), or because I was creating a disturbance (I was completely calm), or because I hadn't paid the fare (I had a valid bus pass). Neither was the problem with the bus driver (he was simply following protocol). Instead, the reason I was denied use of LTD's services was simply because I was wearing roller skates.

Ironically, roller skates are not prohibited in the "Rules for Riding" described on LTD's website (www.ltd.org), on the buses, or in the Rider's Route Guide. Instead, the prohibition is buried deep in an obscure PDF that took me nearly fifteen minutes to find, download, and read. In fact, LTD uses several images of roller skaters in its promotional material. Somehow, passengers are naively expected to infer that skates are not allowed.

I understand LTD's concern for the safety of all transit passengers. It is true that even experienced roller-skaters can be a bit unsteady on their feet at times. However, many of the elderly citizens you transport are also quite unsteady, with considerably slower reflexes than the average roller-skater. If bus drivers are willing to wait patiently for seniors to board the bus and find a seat, why can they not do the same for those wearing roller skates?

LTD buses already accommodate three bicycles each, and I have personally witnessed drivers permitting riders to carry skateboards, inflatable rafts, and skis onboard. It is true that skates, unlike the other sports equipment I just mentioned, cannot be easily detached from the bottom of one's feet. After all, they are designed to work together with the skater as a seamless whole. Yet skates require far less space on board a bus than bicycles, inner tubes, and skis.

If the issue is with safety, then roller skates are arguably better than bikes. After all, roller skaters clearly understand the risks inherent in their choice of footwear, and as a result, take far more precautions than bicyclists (who are often reckless), by wearing helmets, knee-, ankle-, elbow-, and shin-guards. Roller skaters are more than happy to use handholds when on the bus, in addition to remaining firmly and securely seated while the bus is in motion.

I urge LTD to allow roller skaters to ride the bus without the need to use skate-guards. It is unreasonable to require that they remove their footwear every time they wish to ride, in addition to carrying an extra pair of shoes with them when they ride.

We all know that environmental sustainability depends upon getting cars off the road and switching to mass transit and people-powered methods of transportation, yet LTD is refusing to support or encourage a viable transportation option (roller skates) that has thousands of users in Oregon alone. Please do not reject sustainable transportation.

LTD is searching for the "Transit of Tomorrow." Well, they are missing it.