August 31, 2011

Provider Profile: London Dial-A-Ride

LONDON - Dial-a-Ride is a free door-to-door transport service for those with a permanent or long-term disability who are unable to use the regular fixed route public transit in London. Dial-a-Ride is a public service provided by Transport for London. The first video below, examines some of the current challenges facing Dial-a-Ride through interviews with users, service administrators, drivers, politicians such as Caroline Pidgeon, and disability community advocate organizations such as Transport for All. The second (circa 1984) video shows some of the history and background of London's Dial-a-Ride. For more information see: London's Dial-a-Ride for Disabled 'Not Cost-Efficient" (BBC). To find other accessible transportation services see: U.K. Dial-A-Ride Services.

August 28, 2011

Inspirations: Chris Downey

CHRIS DOWNEY - Chris Downey is an architect and planning consultant based in California. In 2008 he lost his sight due to a tumor on his optic nerve. He has been able to turn what would have been a career ending disability, into a valued asset by developing a tactile method of work which includes brail blueprints and Wikki Stix. Chris Downey is currently working as a consultant with the SmithGroup in association with The Design Partnership on the design of the Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center for the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System. For more information read: Architect Chris Downey Finds Second Sight (The Architect's Library).

Non-Profit Spotlight: GLSS Medical Transportation

MASSACHUSETTS - GLSS Medical Transportation is a service provided by Greater Lynn Senior Services for seniors 60+, and adults of all ages with disabilities living in the North Shore area of Massachusetts. GLSS Medical Transportation provides ambulatory and wheelchair trips to weekday medical appointments for eligible residents of the communities of Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott. They provide over 500,000 rides annually. Greater Lynn Senior Services is a non-profit agency founded in 1976 which provides a wide range of social services including information, transportation, meals, advocacy, home care, and housing for seniors 60+, and adults of all ages with disabilities in the five community Greater Lynn service area.

To learn more about other non-profit organizations go to Non-Profit Services.

August 24, 2011

NEWS: Green Bay Paratransit Users Frustrated with MV Transportation

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - On August 22, 2011 users of Green Bay, Wisconsin's paratransit service, as well as family members, caregivers and community stakeholders voiced their concerns at a public meeting with Green Bay Metro Transit Transit Director Tom Wittig, Mayor Jim Schmitt, and MV Transportation representative Douglas Gies. Since May, Green Bay Metro's paratransit service has been operated by MV Transportation. While on-time performance and other measures of standard seem to indicate that service is working well, those attending the meeting expressed frustration over such issues as scheduling problems, drivers and booking agents not communicating well with riders, and the fact that many of MV's drivers did not know their way around Green Bay because they had been brought in from other areas of the country. For more information see: Disabled Passengers Angry Over Para-transit Problems (WBAY-ABC2), Paratransit Users Offer Complaints (WLUK-FOX11), and Green Bay Disabled Bus Riders Again Criticize New Provider (Green Bay Gazette). UPDATE: MV Transportation Working to Improve Green Bay Paratransit (Sept. 29)

For more information see:Disabled Passengers Angry Over Para-transit Problems (WBAY-ABC2), Paratransit Users Offer Complaints (WLUK-FOX11), and Green Bay Disabled Bus Riders Again Criticize New Provider (Green Bay Gazette).

To find out what other transport options there are available see Wisconsin Wheelchair Accessible Transportation.

August 21, 2011

Provider Profile: Marin Transit

MARIN COUNTY CA. - Marin County Transit District (Marin Transit) was formed in 1964 to provide transit for Marin County, California. The county is situated on a penninsula with the Pacific Coast on the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and south across the Golden Gate Bridge is the City of San Francisco. Effectively and efficiently serving the transit needs of a diverse population of 252,500 with many communities strung along coastlines presents a unique challenge. Some of the services and programs offered by Marin Transit to address these needs; especially for disabled, special needs, and seniors are shown in the following videos. They include Novato Dial-A Ride and Accessible Taxis.

August 7, 2011

Inspirations: Tommy Hollenstein

TOMMY HOLLENSTEIN - Tommy Hollenstein is an artist from Southern California. He creates unique and vibrant paintings by using the wheels of his electric wheelchair instead of a brush. The idea of becoming an artist was a dream of his since childhood, but it was only after a 1985 mountain bike accident left him a quadriplegic, did he embark on fulfilling that ambition. Tommy Hollenstein is today an internationally recognized artist that often lends support to causes and charitable organizations such as in the bottom video where musicians such as Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and Slash literately lend a "helping hand" in creating a painting to be sold to raise funds in support of Shanes Inspiration.

Inspirations: Kai Croft

KAI CROFT - Kai Croft is a talented and prolific poet from Virginia. She lives with arthrogrypisis, a rare congenital disorder that causes a lack of normal range of motion in one or more joints. Through Kai's involvement with Service Source Network, her poetry came to the attention of Steve Joyce, Vice-Chairman of the ServiceSource Foundation and president and CEO of Choice Hotels International who have a unique program that uses music to promote and raise funds for charitable causes. Kai collaborated with the songwriting team of Holly Montgomery and Tom Nichols to create a song using Kai's poetry. The result was "Sweetest Dreams" which Choice Hotels International donated $1 to ServiceSource for each free download (no longer available) of up to $10,000 through the Choice Hotels Music Program. To find out more read Manassas Woman's Poems Made into Recording and Kai's Writings.

August 6, 2011

Inspirations: Justin Hines

JUSTIN HINES - Justin Hines is a gifted singer-songwriter from Ontario, Canada. Despite living with rare genetic joint condition called Larsen's Syndrone which confines him to a wheelchair, Justin maintains a busy schedule of live performances and recording, as well as actively supporting charitable causes such as the The South African Journey ("Say What You Want" video) and Victims of the Joplin Tornado ("Tell Me I'm Wrong" video); both from his new album: Days to Recall. As an added bonus, I have included a link to a free mp3 download of "Wish You Well" from his first album: Sides.