Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The first Edmonton election issue on disability begins ... NOW!

On Tuesday we shared the new policy the Disabled Adult Transportation wants to shift into gear Sept. 1 and have users cancel their rides two hours in advance. We received many emails and tweets from users who are very unhappy with the decision, claiming — and rightly so — their independence is being taken away. We also received an e-mail from DATS director Deanna Crozier asking for a meeting. She said she wants to explain the system wants to do more trips. But at what cost? Clearly, someone will lose out. We’ll find out more after the Monday meeting.

The very fact DATS is trying to make such a policy is another example of people with disabilities, perhaps, being too complacent. As a person with a disability, and a DATS user, I think we need to change the perception politicians and bureaucrats have. A classic example of this was how the provincial government and Alberta Health Services made sweeping changes to home care without consulting users. They felt they could do this because, after all, who would object? 

They were wrong. They awoke a sleeping giant, and the responses to the changes spoke volumes. Perhaps, then, the City of Edmonton felt they could do the same thing with this ridiculous new two-hour policy. They might have a fight on their hands. Because, as a very well-respected DATS user pointed out on the bus Tuesday, there’s a civic election in Edmonton in the fall. The new policy comes into effect Sept. 1. So, let’s make the official proclamation right now: people with disabilities in Edmonton are making the new DATS cancellation a election issue. Try steamrolling us now, folks.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am so glad you have brought this up. i also have an issue with the two hour policy. what if a client suddenly falls ill and needs to cancel or just feels tired and does not feel like going out at the last minute. what happens when Dr appointments run late clients can not predict 2 hours before. there are many such examples that come to mind. this policy adds to a clients stress level and perhaps will cause people to stay home and not go out with dats, this is very restrictive for people who do not have other forms of transport to rely on. dats is supposed to be parallel to ETS but i don't see regular ets users being restricted in this manner so why must dats clients be put through this. we dont ask non dats users to plan their lives like this way because it is unrealistic and this is more so for a person with a disability because there are other challenges that come into play. dats should be a leader to other cities in reducing their cancellation times, booking times; travel times and wait times these priorities would truely bring about equality and fairness. remember dats clients use dats not because they want to but because they have to and thus eventhough clients are grateful for the service, it should be a right and a privilege not just a privilege.p