Blind World Magazine

Man and guide dog tumble from train.

February 1, 2006.
CBC Calgary - Calgary,Alberta,Canada.

A blind Calgarian who fell from an LRT car with his guide dog says Calgary Transit needs to have better safety standards.

Gary Zarbock says he fell a metre to the ground after mistakenly exiting the wrong side of the LRT car. He says he's shocked the doors opened on the side opposite the platform.

"This could affect someone who is inebriated, someone who becomes ill suddenly on the train and is desperate to get off. Children may also want test buttons for the fun of it. I think we need to remember that in no situation should the door open on the false side."

The accident occurred Jan.14 when Zarbock, confused about which side the platform was on, exited the wrong door and fell into some gravel below with his guide dog Frost. Zarbock says he heaved himself and his dog back on the train without too much difficulty but the consequences could've been worse.

Ron Collins, a spokesperson for Calgary Transit, say there are safeguards in place to prevent similar accidents. He said the driver in this case, forgot to flip a switch.

"We have since stressed, with this operator, all the rules and procedures which have to take place and again it was an extremely rare and unique incident and we've apologized to the gentleman."

Collins says there is no technology to automate the doors and eliminate driver error.

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