Brenda Lewis made a comment which sums up our Monday meeting with Deanna Crozier, director of the Disabled Adult Transportation System.
"I hate being belittled and having more and more restrictions that are demeaning and break my spirit,” Brenda, a long-time DATS user. We met with Deanna to discuss why DATS is implementing a new policy where users have to cancel their rides two hours in advance starting Sept. 1.
With the city of Edmonton growing as well as specific needs of some DATS users with kidney issues and users with dementia, DATS is trying to get more trips. And while that is fair, the way DATS conveyed the message is not. There were two very vague statements in two DATS newsletters: the most recent being 121 words explaining the policy is changing. There was no mention of DATS participation in a 2010 peer review by the American Public Transportation Association with representatives from Calgary, Ottawa, Seattle and Dallas since January 2011. I find it curious Edmonton does not have the same climate as, say, Seattle and Dallas, in the winter — yet they are implementing a two-hour cancellation policy as the U.S. cities.
This information certainly should have been shared with DATS users. Absolutely. On Wednesday morning in an e-mail exchange, Deanna said “more information will be added to the DATS page of the ETS website, an August e-Bulletin will be sent to e mail users, a “Cancellation Bulletin” will be distributed on the DATS vehicles in August, and additional information will be in the September, 2013.”
|Mayor Stephen Mandel|
The story has drawn the attention of mayor Stephen Mandel. His office contacted me Monday afternoon the Mayor will meet with DATS to ask how the policy was compacted to the public and “and how they plan to deal with the implications and inconvenience to DATS users.”
This story is far from over. I respectfully ask that you vote on the poll on the right side of the post. Because people with disabilities are being bullied by DATS and it must be stopped. I give the last word to Brenda Lewis.
"We are not second, third or fourth class citizens but you wouldn't know it by the disregard and disrespect we are shown fairly often. If they listened to their clientele, who have no other option for transportation they might find some common ground — but the fact is, they never listen. This is only the tip of the iceberg of deterioration."