Thursday, January 27, 2011

RIPTA Rhode Island PUBLIC Transportation Authority

     On a mad dash around Providence I actually managed to get to my bus stop on time for the ride home. Since the day the man told me I needed shoes I have kept shoes on me and complied from fear of being kicked off and left at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere like that guy a few months ago. Anyway. I always make the attempt to get on without shoes because on NO Ripta bus is there a sign on the door saying I need shoes. On the front and back of the cabin are signs saying no smoking no food and drink and no radios. One would think that any reference to a shoe or shirt requirement would be there. Also as I previously stated there is no mention of shoes in RIPTA's rules page on their site. <RIPTA rules>

    As the bus came to a stop the driver got up and stood in the doorway and as soon as I stepped on she yelled at me saying I need shoes on the bus, again, not wanting to be dropped somewhere I said yeah I have some in my bag. She cut me off and said I need to put them on immediately. Again I complied. As I was putting my shoes on she saw that they were smartwool five fingers, an admittedly weird looking shoe. She looked to another passenger and said "Is there a shelter in Westerly?" The passenger replied yes and I said "A few, why do you ask?" She quickly told me to watch my sas. What is that even supposed to mean? You insinuate I am either homeless or crazy and tell ME to watch my sas? I was fuming.

    Anyway so I rode the bus home tweeting what had happened. Planning what I would say to her.

    The bus came to a stop back in Westerly and I silently strode up to where my bags were right next to the driver. I will post a recording of this if the file format works so you can hear the intonation in her voice.


Incase you can't hear, understand, or the audio doesn't play this is the transcript of the confrontation. 

"May I ask...uhh...why is it that you asked me to put on shoes when there are no signs on the door."
"I'm asking you why I was required to put on shoes if there are no signs on the door."
"Because it's a rule on the bus. You need a shirt and shoes on the bus. You can call RIPTA and ask what the rules are required on on uhh..."
"So why isn't on the website in the rules?"
"Why is it not?" 
"Sir I don't know but you can call the - call RIPTA and ask em they'll tell is the law it is required for you to have shoe-"
"A law?"
"Sir it is required for you to have shoes and shirts on this bus. You call RIPTA they'll tell you that."
"It's not a law." 
"Well you can call RIPTA and ask them."
"Thats fine." 

    Needless to say, I will be calling RIPTA and reporting this woman. What occurred to me after this little episode was that RIPTA contains a P and that P stands for PUBLIC. It is a public transportation system and that means that it is a state service. Then it would probably be subject to state regulations or lack there of. 

    So I will be calling RIPTA at some point tomorrow and reporting on the results of that. Hopefully I get the response I'm looking for. And if they do confirm that I am protected under the law (even though I know I am), and that woman still feels the need to discriminate against me further, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a discrimination suit being leveled...I do have a very good lawyer. 

    I can understand discrimination one time and I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming it was simple ignorance. If she feels the need to continue this when confronted with the facts, I will not tolerate it. I really hope that she will listen to me and just let me on the bus. I am not looking to cause trouble, but I am not afraid to fight for justice and equal treatment for barefooters.

Wish me luck friends!

Barefooting is easy
Barefooting is good for you
Barefooting is NOT illegal
Join the revolution

Please comment!

1 comment:

  1. May I voice my opinion.

    1. The burden of proof should always lie on the "shoe policeman". If the driver insists that it is prohibited to drive barefoot, ask her to quote the relevant paragraph from the contract of carriage or similar document.

    2. Do you bus drivers have some means of communication with the dispatcher? A wireless, a cellular etc? It might be a good idea to ask the driver to contact the dispatcher on the spot about a barefoot passenger. The dispatcher may even support you. Anyway, you have nothing to lose.