A disability-friendly community asks its citizens to become creative problem-solvers. If some of us have a problem, we all have a problem. When we solve it for some, we can solve it for all. Disability Dialog is your invitation to weigh-in on key topics, and offer your ideas and/or suggestions for solutions—the more creative the better!
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If your organization, union or business wants to become involved in pushing the state of Ohio's government to fund public transportation more adequately, there is a new coalition called MOVE (Mobility and Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy) working on just that. The Ability Center is involved, and their advocates will have more information. Another contact is Amanda Woodrum who can be found through the web site of Policy Matters Ohio, a Columbus-based research institute.
Uber and Lyft are currently cheaper than taxis, but economists are now saying their model won't sustain itself and they may have to raise fares. The current cost is still problematic for some people with low incomes, and people with low incomes may not have credit cards or smart phones, both of which are necessary for Uber and Lyft. Another issue is that Uber drivers use their own cars which may not be accessible. And then there is the safety issue. How background-checked are Uber and Lyft drivers? There have been some stories about assaults by or against drivers. For a female, Uber seems a little too much like a ride with a stranger. I even once heard a TARTA official say that people TARTA fires go to work for Uber (meaning, Uber doesn't have the same standards.) What steps could be taken to ensure that Uber drivers will not harm passengers? Could they be made to undergo TARTA's background checks? Could TARTA make money by charging a fee for these background checks? Or, could the Ability Center or another agency that thoroughly checks its employees check Uber drivers? Could we develop a network of volunteers who are background-checked by, perhaps, the Ability Center, who then provide rides (perhaps, with the passenger contributing to fuel cost)?
Another observation related to transportation: it seems like everywhere we turn today, we hear or read something designed to inspire us to be independent and live our lives exactly the way we want, with no thought for "what others will think." But that becomes more challenging when something as simple as getting to a place you want to go is challenging. Sometimes the encouragements to be more independent can feel like criticisms to those who have transportation barriers and/or need other similar everyday supports - and can't change the fact that we need them.
Accessible, affordable and reliable (safety, timely, efficient, etc.) public transportation is an issue I hear a lot about from individuals with disabilities. The trickle down is significant - limited access to healthcare, employment, education and social activities. This also impacts where people live. The suburban areas don't have regular bus schedules and often have "central" pick up and drop off locations. That works for individuals that can drive or get a ride to those pick up/drop off spots. Better solutions for transportation would impact all of the categories of this project.
I have heard that the Mayor of Toledo rides TARTA to work every so often, and has his staff do the same. Can we get other people who have some prominence in Toledo, or are connected with Toledo, to ride the bus and post pictures of it? Katie Holmes? Jamie Farr? Crystal Bowersox? Other politicians and business leaders? Mud Hens players or Tigers who have been Mud Hens?