Just trying to get around

Saturday, 10 September 2005

Legally blind man wants reliable taxi to and from job.


PERKINS TWP. - Felipe Guevara of Perkins Township has no trouble working two jobs as a legally blind man.

He just wishes finding a ride to work would be as easy.

Guevara, 46, has worked at Wendy's on Perkins Avenue for 17 years, and Cedar Point for six years, he said.

His brother drops him off at Wendy's for his part-time maintenance job.

But when he's done by 10 a.m., Guevara has no way to get to Cedar Point for his seasonal job as a prep cook at T.G.I. Friday's on the beach.

Sometimes he is able to get a taxi, but this year some taxi companies have refused the business, he said.

They don't want to get stuck in traffic, Guevara said.

When that's the case, he has to call off work, or try to find a family member or friend who isn't at work to give him a ride.

Guevara lives with his elderly mother, who doesn't drive.

"I want to work and stay busy," he said. "It's not right. They know I am a local person and know about my blindness."

Guevara began to lose his sight because of cataracts when he was 17 years old, and has been legally blind since he was 24.

Although he can still see a little from the corners of his eyes, he uses a cane to get around. Blindness runs in his family.

Starlin Jackson, owner of City Service Taxi, said his drivers have taken Guevara to Cedar Point before and aren't against taking people to Cedar Point's main gate. It costs $5 each way.

Tom Halbisen, owner of Tom's Cruz Limousine Service, said he'll also take people right up to the front gate for a flat rate -- even during the busy times.

He gets requests from Cedar Point employees and tourists, and to his knowledge, no one is turned down.

However, Guevara said he has gotten turned down.

He just wants to know he has a reliable way to work from now on.

Guevara has taken the Sandusky Transit Service to the Cedar Point bus site on Cedar Point Drive, but he'd rather take a taxi, so he knows exactly where he is.

Sandusky Public Transit Administrator Rosanne Bodner said STS historically has not provided rides to the Cedar Point park entrance during operating hours because of the heavy traffic.

During the offseason, STS will take employees to the front gate, she said.

Cedar Point is open for the weekends through Oct. 30. Taxis and shuttle services can buy $20 toll cards good for 40 visits to the park, spokesman Bryan Edwards said.

Commercial businesses without toll cards can get a refund on the $9 it costs to park as long as they drop a person off in 30 minutes. Fifty cents is kept for driving on the Cedar Point Causeway, Edwards said.

When Guevara isn't working at Cedar Point, he walks from Wendy's to his Bell Avenue home, he said.

Guevara said he has always been self-sufficient and got both of his jobs by applying like everyone else. Now, he just wants to make sure he can get to work.

"The biggest challenge is not being blind, but getting to work," he said.

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