Megan Rees loves trains. She said, "It gives me mobility.” But this 25-year-old says this week the Utah Transit Authority let her down.
"I felt abandoned and I didn't know how to get home,” said Rees.
On Tuesday afternoon Megan and her father arrived at the Orem UVU Frontrunner station around 2:45. The train arrived on time at 2:58. They waited in the appropriate spot, at the end of the platform, for the train car that's handicap accessible.
Megan’s father George Rees told ABC Utah, "They have what they call a bridge plate that they put down that fills the gap between the platforms…They put it down and she rolls in."
But the doors to the train car didn’t open, and the train host inside the car picked up the phone and, Rees says, motions for them to wait there. Instead of moving to another car, where other passengers are loading, Megan, her father and another passenger wait. That's when the bells started ringing, the rest of the doors close and the train takes off.
"We just kind of went, wait! You know, we need to get on. You know, what else can you do?” explained George Rees.” We’re making some signs that if he glanced in his mirror I think he for sure would have seen us."
Left there standing on the platform George calls UTA customer service. The only solution they give him, after an apology, is to tell him he and his daughter will have to wait for the next train which was due in an hour.
"So they don't have a contingency other than to tell you to wait,” said George Rees.
UTA tells the Rees that the conductor didn't see them, but they don't buy it. Megan says she wants some assurance that this won't happen to her again or to anyone else with disabilities.
"I don't want to see people like me can't get on the train, because of this kind of incident,” said Rees.
In a written response, UTA Spokesperson Remi Barron told ABC 4 Utah in part, "While other passengers moved to other doors, Mr. Rees and his daughter did not. The train host working that car noticed them and tried to radio the train operator. Unfortunately, the operator couldn't see anyone at the back door and assumed everyone had boarded, so he got the train underway.
The issue with the door has been fixed and we will be following up with our operators and hosts to ensure there is proper communication between them."