Why is Para Transpo important?
By Kyle Humphrey (No Such Thing as Can't) #ParaParity campaign
Imagine if you will, you’ve been out of work because of the pandemic, a prospective employer calls you one morning and asks to see you the next day. So you jump on a bus, take it to the LRT, and then grab a bus from wherever you need. It takes you about an hour. Your first bus was late, but things still worked out.
Now imagine you use a wheelchair and the same manager calls you. There’s snow on the ground a foot high, the cars have made little hills of snow that have frozen over. Thankfully in Ottawa there’s a service that exists that can pick someone up at one place, and drop them off at another for the same price as conventional transit.
Need to get to work? It can get you there.
Need to grab groceries? It can get you there too.
Have an appointment? It can be useful in getting you there.
Have plans with friends? The service can help.
Anything you can do on conventional transit is what you should be able to do, yes, even if you have mobility difficulties.
Need to get to work? It can get you there (As long as you give lots of notice, last minute shifts not accommodated).
Need to grab groceries? It can get you there too. (As long as you plan in advance, no last minute trips to pick up something you forgot)
Have an appointment? It can be useful in getting you there. (As long as you don’t need same-day service)
Have plans with friends? The service can help. (Unless you want to travel with them, or go somewhere spontaneously, or stay out later than planned).
Para Transpo can be better, and our goal is to help the city and OC Transpo company to better serve constituents in the city of Ottawa!
Right now with Para Transpo, clients must pre-book their bus a day in advance, starting at 7am the morning before, for a trip between 6am and 12am; that means no post-COVID partying until 2am for Para Transpo users.
There is no same-day option for booking, so there’s no jumping on a bus like your friends who have the option to use OC’s conventional transit. There is no option to tell the bus you want to “catch the next one.” There is no option to take the bus with your group of friends.
Your manager won’t be able to rely on you for same-day shifts. Your doctor won’t be able to fit you in for same-day appointments… among so many other issues that Para Transpo customers face.
It’s these things that make this service less equitable than its sister service. Sure, you’re picked up at a destination of your choosing… but if you have to give up all of the described social freedoms to use the service, it sends the idea that people who require accessible transit aren’t to be afforded equitable transit
Please stand with us in telling your city councillor that Para Transpo affects us all in one way or another, no matter if you’re a manager counting on your employee, a friend trying to be supportive, or someone fighting for social justice who found out the city called an emergency Transit Council meeting for the next morning at 9am.