The View from a Red Scooter
Make way for Susan Ruiz, a chatty 68-year-old who rides Cherriots.
The bus stop near her northeast Salem apartment building helps Ruiz enjoy an active lifestyle, even though she has difficulty walking and uses a red, three-wheeled scooter. Look for her on Routes 21, 19, 13, 5, 3, and 2.
“My gosh, I go everywhere. I take the bus to all of my appointments and shopping and anywhere I want to go,” Ruiz said. “It’s been really fun. I meet lots of people.”
Ruiz, who raised four children, loves to browse thrift shops and visit her many friends. She is usually among the lunch crowd at Center 50+, the local senior center.
The retired caregiver lives on a modest income “where every dollar counts,” she said. She appreciates the senior discount on her monthly bus pass that drops the cost from $45 to $22.50.
Why she rides
Ruiz started riding Cherriots about a year and a half ago. Her inability to walk even a short distance had reduced her options to staying inside her apartment all day or learning how to use public transit. She didn’t want to be the one passenger holding up the bus line.
“I was afraid. I just didn’t know how to do it,” Ruiz said.
All of the Cherriots and Cherriots Regional buses are fully accessible and meet ADA requirements, but Ruiz still needed to learn a few things to efficiently board the bus with her scooter.
She contacted Cherriots and heard about its Travel Training program. Travel Training, which is open to everyone, can be provided on an individual basis or in a group setting.
Two travel trainers from Cherriots met Ruiz at her home. The training included practice with boarding and correctly “parking” the scooter on the bus. She also learned how to pay for bus fare, purchase bus passes, transfer between buses and plan trips.
Don’t be shy about seeking help from the Cherriots Travel Training program, Ruiz said
It took a second round of travel training before she became proficient with boarding the bus with her scooter.
Sometimes, passengers with baby strollers make it difficult for Ruiz to maneuver her scooter to the location on the bus, where it can be safely secured. Most the time Ruiz experiences few problems with taking her scooter aboard.
“I am so thankful that 95 percent of the time it’s a non-issue,” Ruiz said.
For more information about travel training, call Cherriots at 503-361-7571 or visit the Travel Training page.
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