The Ottawa Transit Riders advocates for affordable, reliable, ACCESSIBLE public transit for all. People who use ParaTranspo have been demanding “parity” for years. They have a long list of demands:
- Online booking
- Same-day booking
- Expanded hours of operation
- No more caps on number of rides users can take
- Access to Presto readers so they can tap their cards
- Flexibility for pick-up and drop-off locations
In addition, users of ParaTranspo have long called for common sense scheduling – use one shared bus for customers travelling together, and have buses available at the end of events such as Senators games rather than pre-scheduled.
ParaTranspo users are often given a long window of time in which they must be ready for their bus to arrive. This makes it difficult to schedule their lives – additional time has to be factored in to make appointments and to get to work or to arrive for events. It reinforces the notion that ParaTranspo does not value their time.
Kyle Humphrey, an Ottawa-based accessibility advocate, argues that “equity” would be the freedom to have an active social life, say yes to last minute invitations to events and gatherings, plan to stay out past midnight and have the same quality experience as conventional transit riders.
Sally Thomas, an equitable transit champion who is a board member of the Ottawa Transit Riders, thinks Para Transpo could do a much better job with logistics.
The failure of the LRT occupies much of the media attention in Ottawa. Riders advocating for improved bus service are often told to wait until the LRT issues are solved. Riders who use ParaTranspo are often told that their concerns will be dealt with eventually, they just need to be patient.
This logic needs to be flipped – the concerns and demands of ParaTranspo users need to become front and centre at city hall and OC Transpo.
Users of ParaTranspo have been patient for long enough.
Following are some interesting articles about accessible transit in Ottawa:
Ryan Lythall writes a regular column describing what life is like for people with disabilities in Ottawa.
He wants candidates for the upcoming elections to consider accessibility. “Sit down with us,” he says in a recent article, “and learn about our concerns regarding Para Transpo and the lack of wheelchair accessibility, including city-owned facilities.”