In her Oct. 29 opinion piece, “It’s time to hire more people with disabilities,” Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman leaves out one very important component to getting people with disabilities to work: transportation.

Many people with disabilities are unable to drive, making them dependent on public transportation. I know because my son has a physical disability.

For eight years he was able to get to and from work using public transportation that stopped at the end of our road. But now, the new, improved route has the bus stop half a mile away. For most, that distance would not be an obstacle, but it is a long, long way for someone with limited mobility.

The new stop means he must walk on a main road that is not safe for walkers, particularly during the winter. My son depends on crutches to walk, so snow-filled, icy road shoulders and unplowed sidewalks create another barrier for him to get to and from work.

It is sad that so many people, both with and without disabilities, would love to work and be more independent – go to doctor appointments, the movies, shopping and visit friends. Unfortunately, the lack of dependable public transportation outside the city of Portland makes it a real challenge.

So, Laura Fortman, thank you for raising awareness about all that is happening to help those with special needs find a job. But getting the disabled working will not happen unless part of the package includes better, more accessible public transportation.

Louise Capizzo


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