This week's cover story about the city's lack of progress in making the historic St. Charles Avenue Streetcar line accessible for riders with disabilities included an interview with Jonah Bascle. Bascle, a local comedian who uses a wheelchair, last year ran for mayor in an attempt to bring attention to the issue. He tells us he's frustrated at the lack of momentum on St. Charles, not to mention the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority's continued (false) insistence on its Web site that, because the line is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, NORTA by law "cannot update the streetcars with the modern equipment needed to make them accessible to disabled riders."
(More from Jonah Bascle after the jump)
Here's a screenshot from NORTA's site, just in case that wording gets changed:
And the full page:
We asked Jonah for a few more thoughts on the issue. Here's what he told us:
A few days ago I did a stand-up comedy show at a venue downtown. After my set (while the show was still going on) I had rush to the bus stop to catch the last bus going uptown towards my house. If I miss the last bus at 11:15, I have no way of getting home. There is no wheelchair accessible public transportation after this time. But, wait there is one line I forgot that is still operating after 11:30pm. You may have heard of it, or maybe you have been on it before. It’s called the historic St. Charles Streetcar line. What am I doing out after midnight you might ask? Good point. I know I am not supposed to be out after midnight because after midnight us wheelchair people will bite you and give you wheelchair. But I’m 25, and I should be able to go anywhere I want, whenever I want to. I would like to enjoy New Orleans like everyone else, but I can’t, and neither can anyone else in a wheelchair who lives here or visits.