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Van broken, substitute not disabled accessible

The Mills back-up van is inaccessible to students with disabilities, but is too expensive to be fixed, officials said.

Senior Eliza Riley said that the Mills van broke down a couple of times, keeping her from leaving campus.

“I haven’t been able to get around, it’s too much of a hassle. I haven’t been off campus a lot,” said Riley.

Riley said that the van regular is wheelchair accessible, but the back-up van is not.

Other alternatives have been made for her, said Riley. She has been accommodated with taxis to take her where she wanted to go.

“Public Safety has been helpful. They called taxis for me, but none of the taxis can fit my scooter in them,” said Riley.

Director of Public Safety Steven King said that the van has not broken down several times that it was only out for a week.

He also said that he has made alternative transportation arrangements for Riley with taxi companies and ParaTransit, a part of AC Transit that is specifically used for people with disabilities.

“We try to provide back-ups. We contract with a company only for a short time,” said King. “We are not going to make the back-up van wheel chair accessible because it would cost more than the worth of the whole van itself.”

Ruth Masayko, director of disabled students’ services, said that it is a matter of money. It would be ideal to have both vans wheelchair accessible, said Masayko, but it is not financially viable.

“It would cost $150,000 for the back-up van to be wheel chair accessible,” said Masayko.

While King and Masayko said that making the back-up van wheelchair accessible would not be done, others agree with Riley.

“We should have both vans wheelchair accessible. It needs to be done,” said Mary Albro, a Mills van driver.

King said that he would do anything to make Riley’s stay comfortable. He also said that if need be, the Mills van will drive a student with disability to and from wherever she needs to go.

King also said that the whole campus is undergoing construction to make it accessible for all students with disability. He pointed out that the Rothwell center has a new ramp and the new elevator placed in Haas.