Obese Fresno Man Denied Bus Pass
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A motorized wheelchair gets Randy Frost around his apartment complex. But he feels like he's been a prisoner since November. That's when the city of Fresno refused to renew his ticket to ride a Handi-Ride Bus.
"I'm being restricted simply because I'm bigger than everyone else. I'm being limited because of my weight" Frost said.
The city transportation department said the lifts on its buses can only handle 600 pounds. Randy weighs 500 pounds, his wheelchair another 200. So, he and his chair would get on, one at a time.
"I would use my cane, stand on the lift get on the bus and then they would put my chair on behind me," said Frost.
But, City Transportation Director Ken Hamm said that's dangerous.
"It's really a safety factor for the customer and a safety factor for us. We are following the requirement of the Americans for Disabilities Act to the letter on this one," said Hamm.
But Frost believes after three years of letting him on the bus the city is just looking for excuses to keep him and others like him off. Hamm acknowledges the city is now tightening up on who gets on the handicapped busses, because of costs.
ABC 30 Legal Analyst, Attorney Tony Capozzi thinks the city cannot start eliminating people it has previously allowed to use the service.
"I think once they've done that they have created a policy and a pattern and these people have relied on that," said Capozzi.
He believes the city does not have the law on its side.
"Due process, there should be a process for setting those type of limits. I don't think it's fair for people who may be considered obese to go through these, kind of I think indignities," said Capozzi.
One of those indignities is a requirement that Frost be weighed at the city bus yard in order to apply for a bus pass. He said a city employee compared it to a height measurement for carnival rides.
"You know he told me there are guidelines for height restrictions for getting on fair rides when you go to the fair. And he likened my situation to that. This is not a carnival ride, this is my life." Frost said.
Randy Frost's life hasn't been easy. Five years ago. He weighed 700 pounds, and was bed-ridden in a nursing home. Since then he's worked hard to lose 200 pounds. He now lives on his own. But, He can't go everywhere in his wheelchair, all he wants he said, is a little freedom. A ride now and then.
fresno, local, gene haagenson
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