Threat of bus stop relocating pushes legally blind man to speak out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Athan Perahoritis has taken the #175 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority service bus from his home in Kansas City, Missouri to Johnson County for four years.

Perahortis, who is legally blind, clocks into his job at the Menorah Medical Center every day at 6:50 a.m.

"The reason I got this job was because of the bus route," he said. "If the bus route weren't here I wouldn't be able to get this job."

Last week he discovered routes were changing and the stop in front of the hospital was being removed.

"The bus drivers that I talked with, two of them said they knew nothing about it until the Monday prior, so like the 13th of June," he said. "I never saw any fliers. Nobody else on the bus I talked to said they saw fliers."

“New RideKC transit service will be launched July 5 in Johnson County, providing new and expanded regional connections to jobs, higher education and many restaurants and stores," according to a press release sent by the KCATA. 

But Perahoritis is stunned they would consider removing a bus stop from a hospital.

"I think every bus should go to every hospital," he said. "Not just ours but every hospital. Because [of] patients that can't walk or get around."

The new stop is going in at 115th and Nall, nearly one mile away from Menorah Medical Center.

"I gotta walk a mile-plus in less than 20 minutes to time in on-time,” said Perahoritis.

And he’s not the only one who would suffer. He has at least two other co-workers who wouldn’t likely be able to make the one-mile walk from the new bus stop.

"He has repertory issues and for him to walk a mile in this heat, it's just impossible,” said Perahoritis.

After seeing the email exchanges from Perahoritis and the KCATA, 41 Action News reached out to the transit service. They replied nearly immediately saying they would keep the stop.

"He will be able to board and de-board where he is today for his work at Menorah Medical Center,” said KCATA CPO Chuck Ferguson.

"We are probably more sensitive than most organizations about that because our CEO is visually impaired,” he said.

Ferguson said ridership has been down for that stop, averaging just “a couple people a day at that location.”

However, after hearing Perahoritis’ story, they decided to make adjustments.

"Thank you for communicating with us. Sorry they missed our initial round of communication but I'm glad they came back so we were able to make some corrective action before it took effect,” said Ferguson.

Perahoritis was very thankful when we told him the news.

"Well that's great. I mean, that's just what we wanted. We wanted another bus to come here to drop us off and I'm very happy. I know other people will be very happy to hear that also,” he said. 

Below is a look at new transit options serving JoCo from KCATA starting July 5:

  • 495-95th Street: This is a new east-west route operating during the morning and afternoon rush hour from 74th Terrace & Broadway in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park. Buses will serve Leawood, Prairie Village and Overland Park along the route. The route will be extended west to Lenexa in 2017.

 

  • 556-Metcalf/Plaza: New trips to the Prairiefire shopping and entertainment district, Corbin Park and Johnson County Community College are added during the morning and afternoon rush hour.

 

  • 575-75th Street/Quivira: Weekday service is doubling on this route between 75th & Troost in Kansas City, Missouri and the University of Kansas-Edwards campus in Overland Park. Transit service will operate every 30 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hour, and every hour during the mid-day. The route serves 75th Street in Shawnee and south on Quivira Road through Lenexa and Overland Park.

 

  • 75-75th Street:  A fourth round trip will be added during the morning and afternoon rush hour between the Waldo neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri and Overland Park. Route serves big employers such as Sprint, Quintiles, Black & Veatch and Saint Luke’s South. It also serves Town Center Plaza and Park Place in Leawood.

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Josh Helmuth can be reached at josh.helmuth@kshb.com

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