Trendsetters: Trade & Transportation
[Photo: Gregg Matthews]
Medical technologist, Orlando
Consultant/transportation disadvantaged program
Medical technologist Cheryl Stone’s path to transportation advocate began with her own difficulty getting to work on time. Stone was infected by polio as a child and uses a wheelchair and a car outfitted with hand controls to get around. But following surgery on her arms, she needed paratransit — a shared-ride with no fixed route — to get to her job at Florida Hospital in Orlando. Those who can’t use mass transit because of their age, disability or other challenges rely on paratransit.
Stone found paratransit unreliable and came to realize the problem was larger
and more complex than her issues with an individual service provider.
She educated herself about the transportation problems of the disabled — everything from scheduling a paratransit trip to get to work on time to the uselessness of an “accessible” bus if getting to it requires crossing a wide grass swale in a wheelchair.
Stone has become an advocate and consultant for the transportation disadvantaged program for Metroplan Orlando. She has served on the state Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, is board president of the Central Florida Center for Independent Living and recently was appointed to Gov. Charlie Crist’s Commission on Disabilities.
Recovered from her surgery, Stone, 56, drives herself around again but remains committed to the issue. “I didn’t go into this with any great ideas of changing the world or anything. I was a pretty average person frustrated at trying to get from point A to point B.”