February 5, 2011

Paratransit Winter Service Problems

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON - The following video and companion news story (Wheelchair Users Suffer Through Snow) from Jan. 16, 2008 show the difficulties involved with paratransit transport in the worst of winter conditions, both for the providers and the users of the service. For the service provider there are delays because of poor roads and traffic, some routes and sidewalks may be impassible, there are often problems parking and loading at pick-up and drop-off locations, and in the office staff are kept busy answering the back-log of callers on hold and re-scheduling or canceling trips. For users of the service (and their caregivers) there are long waits on the phone, waiting/wondering when or if the bus will arrive, arriving late at their destination (which may mean having to phone again to re-schedule the return trip), removing or arranging to have the snow removed from their door to the curb, and some clients are more sensitive to the cold because of their medical condition or medication. For all concerned: it is cold, miserable, and stressful. In this particular case the conditions were such that the service provider, STA Paratransit of Spokane was able to navigate the roads to the client's residence, but the sidewalk from the curb to the door was not cleared of snow and the driver was unable to make the pick-up.

1 comment:

fyoosha said...

Difficult for the client to BE in the right.1.They need to call a week ahead, if possible, for some rides, and2. be ready an HOUR before they need to be somewhere, with no assurance they Will get to destination IN Time,despite calling so far ahead! 3.If they are more than 5 minutes late, to get in Van? Driver leaves.Understandable."Shared ride service."
If Driver is over the 30 minutes time late time allowed? Client just waits and waits- There is no consequence for Others: Client just waits.
Once on Van?
I was asked to be Over an hour Early for event. Just wanted to be there at 11.
Van drove around and around the city.
I was on Van? Two and a half hours.....got an "apology" later, much later...
No explanation Why I was not dropped off as planned.EVER.
I am always kind, respectful, help drivers, carry groceries or whatever, and never talk when they drive.For a whole morning driven around for nothing, missing my event?
Scant empathy, but " ...two free $1.50
tickets given...."
Again, I was polite, and kind, and NO real explanation ever given. It made no sense.
Today? I was ready at 1 PM, FOR A 2PM event...and at 1?
DISPATCH CALLED. I Had coat and boots on..Ready an HOUR early:
Driver TOLD DISPATCH? He could not "....get up Third." There would be NO ride to Event today.Furthermore? No ride back from Event, to Home!
One driver made this decision.

I called a cab, and we EASILY made trip to Event, and even? Drove to Third, to LOOK at what Driver saw. Cars and vans and City Buses all driving.No "snow detours" for STA Regular Buses.
I am mystified.Third had literally! no snow..... or a skiff, at 1PM ? Bare street peeking though.
4.If a client is not at a door, or late, or has to cancel in LESS than hour scheduled? They receive a yellow rebuke in the mail.If a Van/Driver is late late, late, or Cancels, or drives a client around for an afternoon-----with no particular sense of "We're sorry?" Nothing particular happens. Client is simply out of luck. Clients have no way to respond to:
"I cannot make it to the address...."when all sorts of other vans, cars, cabs, transports? Make Client's dwelling, to Event? Easily.
4.I will Continue to be the best most responsible rider,will Continue to call Dispatch, defending drivers from "complaints" with no reason.
I remain however, baffled, that Clients have all the Etiquette and Rules applied to them. There is no "yellow ticket," for a Driver who is rude, or who makes decisions that impact the client -----to an extent not easily appreciated by the
not disabled.
I will continue to be a faithful, Kind,
helpful passenger.I remain amazed that
clients oftentimes?Just have to Accept perplexing Rules and Consequences--yet Van Dispatch and Drivers? Seem to face no such client/Van consequences.
Grateful for Vans and the vast majority of Dispatch and Driver interactions....but sometimes?
People already at a Dis-advantage? Must accept less and less.
Blessings, and Safety for all