TULSA — A new parking fee at the Tulsa State Fair has some people upset.
Joan Siple was looking forward to the fair this year. She walks with a cane when she can, but often uses a wheelchair or a motorized scooter. She and her husband decided to use the free fair transit system Sunday, but ran into some problems. One being the bus was not handicap accessible.
"I tripped going up the steps of the bus from the way on the promenade to here and almost landed on my face," Siple said. "My knee gave out, which is very painful when it does that. And if it hadn't been for the bus driver catching me, I would have planted my face in the floor of the bus."
Joan and her husband would have parked closer to the fair, but she says it is hard to pay the $10 parking fee while living on a fixed income. After a long day Sunday, Joan says she is feeling the pain Monday.
"You know you're going to pay for it," she said. "You know you're going to be taking an extra pain pill or not being able to do much the next day or two because you've had to over exert and walk around just to get around to have fun."
This is the first year handicap and motorcycle parking costs money. The fair said it was a business decision after evaluating operations from previous years.
In a statement to Two Works For You, the fair said:
"The Tulsa State Fair understands the importance of traffic and vehicular safety. There are several parking solutions when visiting our event, which include paid on-site parking and the Free Fair Transit System, Thursdays-Sundays. Parking for the public on-site, includes general, accessible, and motorcycle space, are all paid options throughout the complex. The Tulsa State Fair strives to provide the best entertainment and value for our patrons. Each year operations are evaluated, and taken into consideration when planning for future events."
Meanwhile, Joan hopes the fair will reconsider the new parking fee next year.
"People just don't give much thought to handicap people," she said. "If you haven't been there, you don't get it. And I sort of get that. But they really try to, need to be more understanding because nobody chooses to be handicap."
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