This title only begins the spew of thoughts in regards to this. I’m not usually a protester, but I had to speak up about this, so again, in another form, I am… on multiple levels. The article written about my situation with Para Transpo, and the secret donor who came forward was written by Emma Jackson, from Metro. You can find the full article here.
I will attempt to summarize what I can from this. There was a protest in January, of this year, about Para Transpo’s new buses, and people receiving letters about outstanding balances as little as $1.85 to be paid before March 1, or those people would have their service suspended, like I almost had mine, for much more to owe.
When I found out this protest, which, thankfully Steven encouraged me to go to, I wrote a letter to Para Transpo about the reason for the outstanding balance. Since I am visually impaired, or technically, legally blind as the article stated, I have a CNIB card which is valid on the regular OC Transpo service, but not on Para Transpo. I asked them about this, including a photocopy of my CNIB card, as to why they don’t accept this and their roof organization (OC Transpo), accepts it. They, however, did not give me a straight up answer.
This convinced me to go to the protest even more.
This is also why I spoke up, and I am glad I did. This, however, still does not solve the issue. Earlier today, James gave me another article that ties into this quite well. This article is based off of Ottawa’s newest service through Uber, UberAssist.
This article basically talks about how UberAssist is being much more reliable at serving people with disabilities, than Para Transpo is. Although, I could take that to a whole other dimension. This article was also written by Emma Jackson, and you can find it here.
Since my CNIB card is not valid on Para Transpo, I either have to pay for the community bus pass, which is apron $42.00, plus extra for tickets, since you need to pay one ticket with that pass, and yet that pass is for people on low-income. Guess what? You don’t need an extra ticket on the regular system. Of course! A sheet of six bus tickets is $9.60, which is ridiculous on its own.
Depending on how much you use the service, your bus pass, plus a few sheets of bus tickets would cost you approximately $70.80, and hope to god it lasts the whole month. With UberAssist, you could use that money on trips where you know you’ll get there safely. I can’t see any competition here, as the only time I’d willingly use Para Transpo is if using my chair. Other than that, I’d say not.
Advocacy starts somewhere… even I can see this, as hard as it may be. You get somewhere, even if it isn’t the complete picture you want.