Blog from Kyle Humphrey
It means different things to different people, but essentially it means the ability to make choices for oneself without the permission of another. For example: Deciding to go to the grocery store and grab something for dinner that night, deciding to visit a friend who is having a hard time, deciding to go to the hospital and get a nagging issue checked on. All of these things sound pretty simple, don’t they?
Well what if you didn’t have the luxury of a car? What if you were only able to take a bus? What if that bus only allowed you four round trips per day? What if you needed help getting dressed and had to schedule someone to help you, then needed to book your bus after that? What if you had a compromised immune system and were forced to sit next to someone on your bus instead of taking the next one?
What if you knew a loved one had to face these issues?
Well, if you’re from Ottawa and reading this… chances are someone you love has gone through this before, chances are they’ve gone through it many times. There are thousands of people that rely on a broken service called Para Transpo to get them out of the house and to their appointments, be it social, medical, or otherwise. A system that has had countless advocates speak out for years to hopefully bring about better service to patrons, but to no avail.
Just before the pandemic you could find any number of city councillors fighting for a better LRT service for their constituents, and yet Para Transpo had nobody speaking up for them. It took multiple pleas to the media, and local radio stations finally covering important topics for Ottawa Transit Commission to finally step up and agree to start looking at options for an online booking system that had been a plea from Para Transpo users for years.
Well after ten years of advocacy, customers finally have an online booking system.
That's good, but it could be better. What is needed is a booking application that allows the user to go on and book their bus, see their booking in physical form, book more than 4 round trips in a day, book the same day in the case of an actual social life or emergency doctor’s appointment, or maybe even a job if the flawed bus system allows them to hold stable employment.
Sound familiar? It's a lot like Uber.
It’s not a huge ask, is it?
I leave you with this,
If you found yourself waking up one day to a world that didn’t seem to understand the issues you go through or want to make the necessary changes, what would you do?
Well, this is my plea to you on behalf of the many users of Para Transpo,
Please ask your city councillor to support us in this quest for a better, more equitable bus system.