Wheelchair user demands better Montreal metro access
Injured woman gets stuck in gate designed for wheelchair access
A Montreal woman is demanding improvements to the metro system after a wheelchair-access gate closed on her as she was wheeling through it at the Lionel-Groulx station.
Aimée Louw uses a wheelchair to get around since breaking her femur.
Last week, a friend of hers was pushing her through the access gate especially designed for wheelchairs and strollers. Her injured leg was positioned on a raised footrest.
"I was not even halfway through," Louw said. "The red gate closed around my ankle."
"I have a broken femur right now, so if I had been a foot farther into the gate, it would have crushed my leg exactly where the femur is broken," she explained.
Metro attendant struggled to free foot
A metro station attendant was summoned to help, but Louw said he didn't know how to force the gate open.
Eventually, Louw's foot was freed, but she wonders how this kind of problem could occur with an access gate specifically designed to be wheelchair-accessible.
A spokeswoman for the Montreal transit agency (STM) called the incident unfortunate, but she said the access gates are designed to close after they stop detecting movement. She suggested STM clients solicit help from the ticket booth attendant.
Louw said she now asks the attendant to help her use the gates that must be rolled open manually.
"Everytime I do that, they say, why don't you use the red gate?" she said. "I tell them it's because it closed around my broken leg."
Only seven metro stations are equipped with elevators and fully wheelchair-accessible.
Under a transport plan adopted in 2008, three metro stations per year were supposed to be renovated for improved access.
That plan is far behind schedule, because of a lack of funds.