Monday mornings are always hard to start the week.
It is more difficult when you have a disability and use a wheelchair.
Both my neighbour and I use a wheelchair.
We both had to go downtown for an appointment.
Finding this out on the weekend, we left clear messages stating that we needed to go downtown, in hopes of a morning pickup when the Handy Bus was in the area. We figured, since Whitehorse Transit hadn’t called and told us that the Handy bus was available, we’d have to go by regular bus.
Well, the bus did come, but it was the regular bus. Usually, in the morning hours the bus is a kneeling bus so that we wheelchair users can board. That was not the case Monday! What could go wrong did go wrong. It was going to be another half hour before the next bus. Guess what? You guessed it, we wheeled downtown.
Here is the picture: My neighbour uses a manual wheelchair and I use a power wheelchair. In order for my neighbour to get downtown they hold on to the bungee cord on the back of my wheelchair so that I can pull them. We were on the side of the road because, in our view, we wouldn’t be noticed if we used the bike trail. Just in case we needed help. No cars look up, hence the road is easier.
My neighbour has a cellphone, so we were OK. This trip took us about 45 minutes. Many cars passed us whilst we travelled to town. We stopped off at Mark’s Work Wearhouse so that neighbour could buy some dry clothes. We made it to our destination somewhat in one piece. We phoned the Handy Bus and they sent us a regular kneeling bus that got us home to our bus stop.
Now, neighbour will add their perspective on what happened.
We have heard people yell at us that we should get off the road. We say we would love to! But we have deadlines that have to be met and appointments to keep.
I received a paper in the mail about how the government recognizes the great need for better bus systems and more buses on the road to get people where they need to be.
Yet our town council votes a raise for themselves and tells citizens that there is no money for new buses or more service to be able to get to work, etc. Just keep paying those tax dollars!
People tell me that the existing six bus routes and service hours are insufficient for them to put their cars away, or cut back on the number of taxi services in town. Try cutting that back to one Handy Bus for everyone with any kind of disability. We even saw that lone Handy Bus drive past us, one block away, just before we decided we had to run the roadside. We had no other way down.
The city of Whitehorse says the government doesn’t give them enough money for the buses. The government says the city hasn’t even asked for more in years. I look forward to the 22nd of October when we’re to have a pre-court Human Rights hearing about why the disabled are getting so shafted.
Maybe then the city will look again at their finances, as well as put in a proper request for assistance from the government for adequate buses and service.
Next, I sure hope a lot of people get out on October 8th for the advance town council and mayor polling and on the 15th of October for Election Day!
There are a lot of us in the lower-income bracket who need a good bus system to keep our city running.