This past Friday my friends and I decided to go to the US Post Office in New Bedford to do a wheelchair review for we’ve seen many accessibility issues at other US Post Offices. New Bedford is an old, historical city so we figured it would be interesting to review their Post Office.
There are no handicap parking spaces near this Post Office so we parked across the street from the Post Office in a parking space that had a parking meter (all parking meters are FREE for handicap vehicles). Handicap parking spaces are important as some disabled persons need a parking space closer to this Post Office.
This Post Office is located in a beautiful old building. We first saw the main entrance but it only had steps and there was no wheelchair accessible ramp in sight. We then walked around the side of the building and saw another entrance that only had steps with no wheelchair accessible ramp. We walked by the other side looking for an entrance and noticed a side door similar to the one we saw on the other side.
We then went to the rear of the building and saw a dock and parking spaces that seemed to be for postal workers only for only postal trucks were parked here. We spotted a ramp but there was no wheelchair accessible or handicap sign on it. I was in my manual wheelchair again because my Power Chair is broken so Kevin , my friend pushed my wheelchair up this ramp.
At the top of the ramp there is a door with a door bell. I immediately thought of the Taunton Post Office and wondered if someone was going to come to the door after we rang the bell and provide postal services for me due to inaccessibility. To my surprise, a very nice Postal worker opened the door and offered to help me. I told him I needed to buy a stamp.
We were surprised because there was an entrance after all. The Postal worker guided my friends and I through a back postal room. The Postal worker then unlocked and opened a door with a sign “Authorized Personnel” and held it open for us to get to the front of the Post Office.
The main area of the Post Office has four customer service windows. All were open for service including the passport window and a picture booth that was to the left of the authorized personnel door. The counters at this Post Office are too high for my wheelchair so my friends helped me with my purchase of a stamp. Persons in wheelchairs will definitely need assistance if they need to send mail or make a purchase.
After I purchased my stamp my friends and I headed back the ‘Authorize Personnel’ door that we entered from and found it was locked so we went back to a customer service window and asked a Postal worker if someone could open it for us. We came out the same way we came in. It took a lot to get into this Post Office but the Postal workers did provide a good service by helping me access and exit the building.
I give the New Bedford US Post Office TWO STARS for wheelchair accessibility. In order to earn the other Three Stars they need to place some handicap parking spaces in front of the building, build a ramp in the front that leads to the main entry door, install an automatic entry door and lower at lease one customer service counter so persons in wheelchairs can independently complete their postal business.
I give the Postal workers who helped me FIVE STARS for their effort on trying to make my visit a satisfying one. With good service you’ll never think twice about coming back. I still find it very disappointing that ALL US Post Offices do not provide equal access to the disabled!