Thursday 23 June 2016

Para Transpo Expanding Service

OC Transpo is going to be expanding their Para Transpo service to be eligible for those with mental illnesses and conditions, not just those with physical problems.  Personally, I'm kind of surprised that wasn't already an option but I'm pleased to see it.

On a practical level, I wonder how effective this will be.  I know a number of people who have used the Para Transpo service (which allows door to door drop off) and most of them haven't been pleased with it.  One fellow I knew was quite frustrated as he would try to use Para Transpo to get to his regular doctor's appointments and the service would not guarantee that he would be at the appointment on time.  Sometimes they would pick him up 3 hours early and other times they would be two or three hours late, causing him to miss the appointment and incur no-show fees.

Part of the challenge is the "minibus" model, which is only cost-effective if you have multiple riders.  Which means that the "door to door" service will likely include some extra stops.  I'm also wondering whether or not the drivers are prepared to have someone with severe autism, or schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder on the minibus.  People with mental challenges are much more likely to be disruptive than those with physical limitations.

I am pleased to see that the taxi chit program for Para Transpo is being continued.  It allows eligible riders to take a taxi instead of the minibus and OC Transpo picks up 40% of the fare.  It still makes for an expensive ride, but at least it provides an alternative.

It's a good effort to be inclusive and hopefully OC Transpo is considering the logistical challenges.

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