Accessible transportation – Seriously??


If you’re like many of us who require, use and depend on accessible transportation, I have a question for you!

How accessible is your city?  How much is accessible transportation in your area?  Is it worth it?  Can you afford it?  Is there enough?

Ok, that was more than one question!  Can you see where I’m going with this?

I am very thankful for the accessible transportation that is available, don’t get me wrong.  I do, however, find it very frustrating and think there is not enough available.  As well, with the cost of some of it, I find is not always affordable, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Here in London, our Paratransit system requires you to call 3 days in advance of your outing/appt etc, to book it.  You need to start calling FIRST thing in the morning, 7am to make sure you are able to get a time that suits your needs for that day.  You cannot call any earlier than 3 days prior.  Some days it takes 10min to get through, others it can take up to 45min or more.  I have, on more than one occasion, had to cancel an appt because by the time I’ve gotten through, a time was not available that suited the time we needed for the appt.

I did however find out today that it is possible to possibly make arrangements for appts that are perhaps consistent and consecutive over a period of time.  They aren’t always able to be approved, and it can take 4-6-8 weeks for approval of it, but it’s a possibility.  For example, Patrick will be attending an 8 week Word Warrior summer camp at TVCC, they have submitted to have the rides arranged so I will not have to call every time 3 days ahead, but it could still take weeks to get approved, and in the mean time, I will still need to make the calls until I’ve heard from them either way.

The cost of using Paratransit is the same price as a ticket for the local city busses, and they do accept bus tickets.  Not too bad, for the convenience of being picked up and dropped off at the house, rather than standing a waiting for a city bus and hoping that particular one is an accessible one.

A lot of preparation it seems sometimes to make arrangements just to go somewhere for an hour or two, but necessary.

My question now turns to…what about outside the city?  Paratransit is limited to the city limits.  The next option(s) are an accessible taxi and/or another type of accessible transportation like Voyageur.  Both of these options can be and are not exactly feasible for many people.

When I took my son to Nova Scotia last summer, Voyageur quoted me approx $600.00 just to go to the Toronto Airport!!!  WOW!!!  I could have purchased 2 sets of tickets to Halifax for that price!

My son LOVES to go see Thomas The Train when he comes to St. Thomas in July every summer.  A flat rate of $48 was quoted to me this afternoon, using an accessible taxi, for one way to St. Thomas.  That’s just one way, then there is the same amount to come back, PLUS the price of the tickets.  You’re looking at close to $150 for a couple of hours of  joy and entertainment.

If you’re like me, you want your child or loved one to get out, enjoy and experience all the fun things and places that so many others get to do.  We are not all fortunate enough to have an accessible vehicle, I do have the paperwork in for Presidents Choice Children’s’ Charities for funding for an accessible van, but it can take up to a year to hear back anything.

My son wants to go to African Lion Safari, he wants to pet the elephants, but honestly, I’m afraid to call and find out how much THAT would cost to get there and back!!!!

Perhaps it’s time to take another look at accessible transportation in our cities.  If enough people spoke up and inquired about how we can make this better for our children AND others with disabilities to be able to get out and do more and it not cost an arm and a leg or more, how great would that be?

I know what some of you are thinking, take a car and just bring a manuel chair, fold it up and stick it in the trunk!  What about those who are larger children, adults and others, who would love to enjoy many of these sites/venues, and it would mean lifting/carrying etc.  Sometimes it’s not possible in many situations, and sometimes many aren’t comfortable being ‘carried’ around, and feel more comfortable in their own chairs etc.

Those of you who can identify with similar situations, I’d love to hear your input on how you think the accessible transportation in your area is.

Are there other options that are available that aren’t as well-known, that we should know about?  If you know of any, please let us know, so we can pass on these great tidbits/gems that seem to be well hidden at times.

I hope to get my son out and experience a variety of things this summer, unfortunately it’s looking like they will all be within the city limits, because of the cost involved for the transportation.

I know there are many things to see and do here in London, but after all is said and done, is it too much for him to ask/want to see all the other great places outside the city too?

I will keep you posted on our trips and journeys this summer and pass on any great information tidbit I come across that may help with your planning too 🙂

Enjoy your summer!!

We’d love to hear about your trips too! 🙂

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