New Jersey quadriplegic forced to ride home 2 miles in wheelchair after bus failure

BERGENFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's a sad day when the motorized wheelchair of a 61-year-old quadriplegic seems more reliable than not one, but two bus providers.

"My son said, 'Maybe you know what, mom, maybe your best bet is to try to make it home by the chair. You got a better chance,'" Kathy Moore said.

Moore took the back roads nearly two miles in the dark in her wheelchair from Englewood, New Jersey, all the way home to Bergenfield Saturday night.

"The tears went down my face," she said. "I just couldn't think then, because first of all, I was cold and I had been trying to get home already, three hours had passed. And I'm trying to get home, and it's cold. And I couldn't even feel my fingers and my toes."

It was a full day of commuting fails. It started when Moore tried to take the 186 NJ Transit bus at South Washington Avenue and New Bridge Road in Bergenfield. There was an issue with the wheelchair lift.

"I'm standing out there about 40 minutes," she said. "And I said, you know what, she's not going to get anywhere with that. It was broken. It came out but it wouldn't go back in."

Moore eventually got to the Bergen Center Mall in Paramus to get her shopping done. But when she tried to get home, there was more drama.

"I waited two hours, because I was waiting specifically for the 753," she said. "I couldn't go back to the highway for the 756 because of the construction."

She said that two hour wait was for a Saddle River Tours bus that never came. She then decided upon a backup plan, to take two different buses to get to Englewood that would put her closer to home. But that didn't work either.

"Here comes the same 186 that broke down in front of the Walgreens in Bergenfield," Moore said. After all those hours, here comes the 186. She looked at me as if to say, I know you're not thinking about getting on this bus."

The entire commute home took four hours. Spokespersons for both NJ Transit and Saddle River Tours say they are looking into the matter. Moore said she has filed complaints, but neither agency has called her back.

"I just wish that these bus companies would be more attentive to fixing their bus," she said. "Don't forget us people who have to take buses."

The 61-year-old became paralyzed 20 years ago in a domestic violence incident in Hackensack. Her ex-husband stabbed her more than 20 times.

Since then, she and her son have been trying to raise money to buy a used van with a wheelchair lift.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Coach USA as the operator of the bus route actually operated by Saddle River Tours. Coach USA and its operations have no role in this story.

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