Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Accessible Public Transportation Woes

with one comment

by Treadmarkz

I have said before that I am in a wheelchair and I am capable of driving but I do not have a license. I have to consider that my own choice. Therefore, I know the options I have if I am unhappy with public accesible transportation. However, I do pay for this service, and as such I feel I have every right to complain when the service is not up to par.
The service I use is a city-funded company. What this means is that the company is going to get funding no matter how they perform. No matter how many people abandon them because of poor service, they will get funding.
Most cities have a mixture of city funded and independent accessible transport companies, and my city is no exception. The problem is that the independent companies can charge a much higher price. True, they will work harder to do right by their clientele, but they will charge up to $50 for a ride (literally). Meanwhile the city-funded companies will hire anyone who can answer a phone to take down reservations, and when they get it wrong and you call in to complain, the answer you recieve is something like “What do you want for a $2 ride?”

Granted, this is about the same price as the regular city bus, so that’s great when they get it right, but if you miss work because of the inadequate employees they hire, it would not matter if it cost 2 cents!

Is this a nationwide problem with handi-transit? I would like to hear other people’s opinions on the problem and how it could be fixed.

One Response

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  1. In my area, the funding comes from payroll taxes, therefore, unless you own a business, you probably don’t pay that tax (at least not directly). Most transit agencies do have an advisory committee or board which can take your public comment and input on your experiences on how you’ve been treated. The ADA says that the transit agency may charge up to twice the fare for a similar ride on the regular (fixed-route) system. Which means your fare is relatively low. And you can complain beyond them, all the way up to the FTA!!

    That being said, paratransit is not designed and is not capable of meeting EVERY transportation need for EVERY person with EVERY disability at EVERY location and EVERY situation.

    And even if you were riding the regular bus/train or driving your own vehicle, is it impossible that there would be times when you might miss an appointment or arrive late for work due to transportation difficulities? No!

    If possible, you could ask for a tour of your local call center, to understand more of the complexity of the job of the person who takes your reservation. (The turnover is great, in the one I’m most familiar with.)

    That being said, at least where I come from, the staff feel horrible when even one person has a bad experience on public transit or paratransit. I’m hoping that your staff will be at least as cooperative as that when it comes to fixing the problems. You can email me privately if you wish


    April 23, 2008 at 6:50 PM

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