Meet Cindy Nemser - art critic, theatre critic, novelist, humorist, journalist, and ardent feminist.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

1:54 PM Posted by Cindy Nemser No comments
Access A Ride Should Be More Accessible

As much as I appreciate Access A Ride as an incredibly inexpensive means of travel for a person who cannot use public transportation I must register a complaint about the way it is run. First of all the person to be transported must wait up to 30 minutes for the vehicle, while the transporting van or car will only wait five minutes. This puts a heavy burden on an individual like myself who is suffering from various serious ailments and cannot always more that quickly. (I have chronic pain in my feet and cannot stand for more that a few minutes without unbearable suffering.). And then what if that person can find no shelter where it is possible to be seated while waiting for the vehicle and one is forced to stand in the street for up to thirty minutes in rain, snow or excessively cold weather AAR is really not a viable especially if the vehicle is does not arrive after the designated time and a private service must be called?
There is a solution to this problem, but officially drivers are forbidden to use it. (Some kind-hearted souls do it anyway). All these drivers have the disabled persons’ home and (if they supply it) cell phone telephone numbers. They can easily get in touch with their scheduled passengers. A call would be the most efficient and compassionately means of alerting clients that their rides are ready to take them on and they must get to the vehicle and be ready to depart.
There are other problems as well that I have encountered while attempting to use this service. It very difficult to schedule a return trip when one doesn’t know how long an appointment will take. For example, it is impossible to know when one will be finished with doctors’ visits. One can only guess a return time, but more than likely it won’t be the correct one. Then it is necessary to call and cancel the return ride and reschedule a new one again having to face the possibility of a long wait that can also include the half hour waiting period... This is most unfair as it can make it possible for the patient to spend half a day or more seeing a physician
. Again if a better use of cell phones, the patients could call Assess A Ride and let them know when they are finished and a driver in the vicinity could call the patients and quickly pick them up.
I must add that although I abhor the lack of efficiency that went into the planning of the AAR program I am grateful to the parts of it that I can use. I am lucky enough to live in a house that has a large picture looking out on the street and in front of it is a large soft couch on which I can stretch out as I wait for my ride. I can be outside in a few minutes.. So I use ARR for one-way trips only and for the return I take a car service or a taxi. That’s expensive and it shouldn’t be necessary.


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