Para Transpo and Equality of Service
Para Transpo in Ward 5 is an issue I have had firsthand experience with. My father has been disabled for over 10 years and for the first 7 plus of those he was forced to use Para , a rental wheelchair van which required often times several months lead time to rent or one of the few accessible taxis. Let me also say that accessible doesn’t mean truly accessible and the city as a whole has a long way to go on that front. I have experienced the archaic reservation system and been told when I called the day before he needed to travel that a) nothing was available and b) it was after 9 am and no wheelchair bookings could be made. I have waited with him for the vehicle that never arrived and then being told another couldn’t be sent until the next day. I have seen the inequality of pricing and service in Ward 5 vs the urban/sub urban areas. Fortunately for him, he has been able to buy a used accessible van which virtually eliminates his dependence on Para. My concern remains in place.
It has been shown in numerous studies that the most efficient solution for seniors and the disabled is to let the live at home. This also means you should be able to get out and go see your friends once in a while without needing a second mortgage to pay to get there and back. The reservation system is an issue I would spearhead once elected as it would best be done by tasking city staff with comparing the local system with others that doo seem to work elsewhere and reporting back, I would engage several users as well.
The key point I wish to bring out is that I am proposing a solution that would provide a uniformity or more uniformity of service across the city for Para users. I propose that for a one year trial period, full service be provided to the rural wards equal to that which the rest of the city gets. This means both bus and car Para service to and from anywhere within the city limits. I would also want the fare to be reduces, ideally to parity with the urban rate but more likely to say $5 for each segment ($10 round trip). The way to offset the increased expenses/reduced revenue is to raise the rate elsewhere. The obvious solution is to make the Para rate to and from say a 750 meter radius of Rideau Carleton Raceway and Slots for discussion purposes $12.50 each way. My view is if you have the money to gamble, you have the money to pay to use Para to get there. If that doesn’t work a complimentary shuttle is available from the Greensboro transitway station or anyone can use OC Transpo Route 199 service to the Racetrack.
Expect pushback form council and staff on this. Eli repeatedly says be careful what you wish for when transit is discussed and I would expect the same on this. I will point out that he also received and accepted a donation from RCR in 2010 which he knew he could not use. We all know how the casino vote went too.
Please visit my website at www.aronec.ca to see what I believe is the best defined, thought out and viable candidate platform in Ward 5. The decision you make when you vote is important so please take a few minutes and make an informed and not “Miss Congeniality” based decision.