Students with Disabilities Claim SDSU's Cart Service Is Leaving Them Behind

The Student Ability Success Center has provided a ride assistance program for students needing help getting around campus for decades.

San Diego State University offers a cart service through their Student Ability Success Center that takes eligible students with a disability across campus. 

However, some students complain the cart service has not been available for their needs. 

SDSU junior Liana Manriquez, started using the cart service after her Rhabdomyolysis diagnosis in September 2018. The condition caused the muscles in her legs to disintegrate and hindered her ability to walk. She requires transportation to get from place to place. 

Manriquez said she had experiences where the SDSU carts were late, drove by her as she waited for them to pick her up or didn’t pick her up at all. 

“I have two classes that are back to back across campus and that’s my major hike across campus, which is the hardest for me,” Manriquez said. “I don’t use the cart service because I don’t trust them to get me there on time, but otherwise I would probably do it.” 

However, Manriquez said that there have been times when she walks out of class and the cart service is waiting for her. She says the problem might be that they’re understaffed. 

The San Diego State Student Ability Success Center is an office that provides accommodations for students with disabilities. Their website says they serve more than 1,500 students on campus. The office has provided a ride assistance program for about 30 years. The program currently has five carts that make about 125 scheduled trips a day Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The carts hold between four to eight people at a time. There are currently less than 10 drivers who make the scheduled runs and respond to other requests of the SDSU community. The office provides cart service for those who need it for graduation, summer orientation and other events on campus.  Guidelines for use are published on the center's website.

According to the cart service agreement on the Student Ability Success Center website, cart service “is provided on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. (Exception: Any student who requests transportation from one class to another will receive priority over a student who requests transportation from a class to his/her car, the library, etc.).” 

Teague Quillin, a junior at SDSU, used the cart service to get to class over a year ago after he fractured his foot. He said he prescheduled the carts through the Student Ability Success Center to pick him up 15 minutes before class like the program recommends. 

Quillin said the carts would come five minutes before his classes started, making him late to class, or not show up at all. 

He said he would be left with making the decision to risk waiting for the cart service with only a few minutes left before class or to try to crutch across campus.

Quillin said the hills on campus make it difficult to use crutches and that he was left behind at least four times. 

Tracy Tanga, the Student Ability Success Center special services coordinator who handles the cart service, said the lack of pick-ups might be due to students running late or being in the wrong spot designated for pickups and drop offs, as well as the cart service running late or running into traffic on campus. 

Tanga said that they rarely receive complaints from students. 

Students can make complaints by emailing or calling Tracy Tanga or Pamela Starr. 

“The first piece would be to talk to Tracy and then if it’s not able to be resolved, then I’m the next level to have that conversation to determine what the concern is and what resolution we would be able to do,” Pamela Starr, the Student Ability Success Center director said. 

According to the cart service agreement on the Student Ability Success Center website, the cart service can run slightly behind due to campus traffic or the service may be canceled due to inclement weather.

This report was a collaboration between NBC 7 and the SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies.

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