Transportation ramble

Today I went and looked up cab fares. I’m getting to the point that when I want to go somewhere, I just want to go. I don’t want to have to schedule paratransit and wait, you know? Especially because just since I might have energy right now, doesn’t mean I will tomorrow. So I looked it up and wow. Expensive. However since I’m not spending money on car insurance, gas and maintenence, I suppose it evens out and really I’d be paying for sanity since freedom for me equals sanity lol. I think I’ve just reached another point in my adjustment to blindness. It’s amazing how something is ok for awhile and then suddenly it’s just not.

For small errands like wanting to get something for Jayden or take him to be weighed, the cab will come in handy. For larger outings like workouts and such, I’ll stick with paratransit. It’s sure nice to know I have options though. I mean it would be kinda silly to cab it down the road to the store, but until Jayden decides that route is ok, I have to have that option because when time calls for ice cream, I want ice cream. I don’t want to schedule a ride. I guess you could say today has been fact finding day after climbing the current rung of the ladder on this crazy journey called blindness.

I’ve stopped fretting about how long something takes me to be comfortable. It will come as was evidenced by this revelation this week that dammit I want freedom and I’ll stop at nothing to attain it.

I called the self serve dog grooming place because the address for the one I went to last time is no longer on the website. Turns out there were two locations but it got overwhelming, so they sold the second one which is the one I had visited. I like the mission of the original one so I asked her about her location and it’s actually in a much better place. I found out that it’s in a strip mall with a book store and a craft store. Score! So I can do paratransit and if I get done way early, I can go get some yarn or a book, sweeeet! I asked her about her slowest days and she filled me in on her down time, so I’ll take advantage of that. I don’t want to be in there with loads of other dogs which is why I’d never dream of going on the weekend when B can take me. So I’ve got that settled and in the plan for next week. I need to get to the pet store too because they have a scale and I want to check Jayden’s weight and see how the food switch is going. I’m also gonna check out the toys. I just can’t decide if I should do a cab or paratransit for that one. I’m not really sure how long I’ll need there. Hmmm. Do get a cab and have them wait takes money, but to get dropped off by paratransit I need to wait at least thirty minutes for the return. I could be done there in five minutes. So I’m still pondering that one. I’ll probably do paratransit.

I also need to get quarters for laundry so I should really get to the grocery store. Again, cab or paratransit? Hmmm. It’s times like these I wish I had an accessible bus route. Sometimes I really think about moving since when I moved here I was mobile. But I love it here. I don’t want to move. Ergh.

This is all just a pile of thoughts lol. It’s really hard to figure out how to do all this stuff now that I’m ready to stop relying on friends. I wonder just how much it would cost to get a cab for several errands. I suppose the only way to find out is to test it.

You know what would be an awesome service? An errands service. Kind of a combination of paratransit and a cab. So you’d schedule a driver for a certain number of hours or something and then the driver would pick you up and just take you where you need to go and wait for you. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Maybe the paratransit companies should spin off and offer something like that as a side service. If it were in between the price of a cab and the price of paratransit, I would think it would be affordable.

Even if it was like a cab with a per mile rate but without the meter. It’s the meter that’s gonna get me. It’s twenty eight bucks per hour of wait time. Man, maybe I should try and start a business making this kind of service haha!! I mean really, how many people would benefit from this? Anyone who can’t drive, for whatever reason. Can you imagine how awesome that would be? The way paratransit is now, they drop you off, leave, another van comes to get you and it’s all scheduled. If you have multiple stops, that turns in to hours and hours, most of it spent waiting.

It’ll probably never happen. Everything is ruled by money and there’s probably not money in something like that.

It would be awesome though. The whole finding ways to be independent has been the hardest part of losing my vision. And now its money that’s stopping me. I need to just test it out so I know exactly what I’m dealing with and can budget it in.

Ok, semi useless ramble over. 😉

17 Comments

Filed under Adjustment to blindness, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2010, rambles

17 Responses to Transportation ramble

  1. Jen

    I have a personal assistant wwhich is effectively what your looking for! I get funding for so many hours a week, and its up to me how I use them.
    I use it to help me with some work stuff, and to get things for O.J or myself. Very useful because I don’t have to depend on parents and some places don’t have public transport.
    I’ve done things like volunteering that I wouldn’t be able to do if I didn’t have this service.

  2. Ro try contacting your local council on aging, some towns have a program with certain cab companies for subsidized fares to elderly and disabled. I know in my area there is such a program even though we also have a paratransit. You have to prebuy a “book” of fares for a certain amount (I think $20) and that is good for so many trips so many miles or something like that. Might be worth looking into.

  3. Katrin that was exactly what I was thinking.

    It’s too bad you don’t have a proper bus. It’s not perfect, but it’s heaps more flexible than paratransit. I think I’d go stark raving mad if I had to do paratransit. I’m just not that good of a planner.

    Go get your freedom. Go get it and run.

  4. Hi Ro, I think the idea you presented would be soooooooo cool! Where I live in Australia though, I’m pretty to have a good bus stop a few blocks away. It’d still be lovely to just call a company and let the operators know that you need a driver for so many hours, pay that rate and off you go! Wow. Mum also believes that blind and VI people shouldn’t have to pay for cabs, since we can’t drive anyway. Now I like that idea too, because in this country we don’t have to pay for other forms of transport. But yeah, love your idea! I’d use it every day lol! Oh, but Troy would get unfit then so maybe I like the idea of walking for long distances. RRRR now I’m torn… Damn it. Ok I’d use this idea for really tired or rainy days.

    Take care,

    Michelle

  5. Ro

    I’ll have to see if there’s anything like that here. In my Gamma’s neighborhood there’s a program of volunteers who get some money from the city, but you have to live in that area. I would think that if there was such a thing for the disabled that Saavi would have told us about it back when I did a class learning about all the services here.

    We have a decent bus system. I took it way back in the days of being sighted and carless. The problem now is that the nearest bus stop is pretty far and would require crossing the intersection that GDB absolutely does not want a dog in lol, and which I wouldn’t even cross with my cane. Also, it’s out of the question in summer because of the heat and my MS and this town scares me to be out there waiting on the street. So unfortunately a bus just isn’t in the question, which is a major bummer. I might ask Dave if there are any stops going the other way, away from the crazy intersection, but I don’t think so. If there were, I could do it in winter.

  6. Not sure I agree with the idea of blind folks not having to pay for cabs. We don’t have to pay for the bus service where Carin and I live, but if that policy were to change tomorrow, I wouldn’t be angry, I’d just have to remember to have change around. Somebody’s got to pay for this stuff, and the more people who are out of the money pool, the more likely it isn’t going to be there when it’s needed. Discount cabs sure, but we should have to pay something. Heck, even when I take a ride from my parents or friends, I’m offering up gas money or springing for lunch because it’s just the right thing to do.

    And Ro, you could save a bit of money by not having the cab wait for you when you run in. I almost never do that unless I know pretty well for a fact that what I’m doing is going to take less than 5 minutes, or if I remember that I need something on my way to or from somewhere else that I’m going to be for a while. At worst you’re waiting outside for a couple of extra minutes while you call a cab to where you are. But if it’s me and I’m going in to get the dog weighed and look at some toys, that cab can go on its way and I’ll call me a new one when I’m done.

  7. Ro

    I agree that we should have to pay something. Just like having a car is a privilidge the sighties must pay for, transportation is something we can’t take for granted. I’m still floored at just how much a cab costs, but it’s sure never gonna cost me as much as having a car did, with gas, insurance and maintenence.

    So Steve here’s a questionf or you. If I call a cab to the grocery store, will they let me know when they’re there? The one time I called a cab to my home, I asked the dispatcher to have the drive honk. How does that work when you’re out at a place? How will I know the cab is there?

  8. Ro

    And here, just by getting in the cab, you pay 2.50. So if I call multiple cabs, that’s multiple 2.50’s I gotta pay. Seems like that would add up more quickly than 5 minutes of wait time. I’d have to do the math to see for sure.

  9. Ro

    Ok so my online personal assistant says the wait time is 27 cents per minute. So I’d have a little more than 5 minutes before I wrack up more fees than the 2.50, which is called the flag drop. So yeah, I’d probably only have the cab wait for a quick in and out dash deal, and then call a new one for a twenty minute trip. Thanks for the tip Steve! Crap, tip. You gotta factor in tipping more than one driver. Hmmm.

  10. What I usually do is make sure to mention that I’m blind, and if I’m waiting inside the building and there’s nobody around to check out the window now and then I’ll ask that they come in and look for me. Generally they’re cool with this. If I’m standing outside I’ll also tell the dispatcher that I’m blind and get the driver to honk or yell for me instead of just pulling up and waiting there. It’s never failed.

  11. It’s like that here too with the base rates, but if you end up stuck in a place longer than you were planning it sometimes comes out cheaper to call a new one. And like I said, if I’m only going to be a few minutes I’ll get them to wait. Waiting rates seem to be pretty cheap here at least last time I needed to do that, but if I can’t be sure i’ll be quick I’ll generally take my chances on just calling another one.

  12. I generally tip a couple of bucks per ride. But here’s something to consider. If you have a cab wait for you, sometimes the driver will do lots of helpful things like guide you into a place or even help you around a store. In that case, since he’s going the extra mile, the tip goes up, and so do your costs. Just something to think about hahaha.

  13. Ro

    Yeah I thought about the bigger tip for a waiting cab. The stuff I’d be doing I wouldn’t need help with as long as he pulls up to the door, but yeah, I’d want him to keep an eye for when I come back out so yeah, the tip would go up a bit.

    My friend and I are figureing out what the cost is gonna look like for three stops, which will actually be three cabs too and man, it ain’t pretty and I’m not even going far lol.

  14. One of the funny things about cabs is that the costs can sometimes be a couple dollars cheaper than you expect, but that also works the other way. I love it when I take what I think is going to be a $10 trip and we end up hitting no lights or traffic and I pay $7. Those little surprises are nice. I guess the rambling point I’m trying to make here is that just because the costs look bad, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be that bad. It seems to work that way for me more than it does the other way, where it’s actually a little worse.

  15. Ro one thing about cabs, just a heads up, some are huge PITA if you have a guide dog or service dog with you. They will just leave you there or say “I didn’t see you” if they do show up and then leave. Just so you are aware. It is a major problem in some areas like DC and NYC and other places. Boston I haven’t heard too bad stories in and local areas are usually better about it than in cities.

  16. You legally don’t have to do this, but out of courtesy Carin always tells dispatch that she has a guide dog when she calls. 99 Times out of 100 that’ll make sure any problems that could come up don’t, because if there is a legitimate problem that a driver may have they can send somebody else. I don’t understand blind people who won’t do that because the law is on their side. Yeah it is, but if there is say an alergy issue or even a religious one it’s good to be fair. You actually end up getting better service over the long-term doing that than you would by creating a battle that really doesn’t need to be fought just because you think you’re some kind of heroic advocate.

  17. Ro

    The one time I took a cab with Jayden, back when we had the emergency vet visit, I told the dispatcher exactly that and even told her it’s nice to let the drivers know there would be a dog. I don’t remember why I did that, if I had read it on a blog somewhere or what or if it was just my own sense of courtesy. I got a driver who loved dogs, now whether that was because of what I said or not, I have no idea. I had also brought a towel with me since Jayden was having accidents at the time and the driver was all excited at how nice that was of me, he wasn’t used to people being so thoughtful. I’m pretty sure this might have been as a result of talking to Carin. Not sure.

    Also, when I took a cab before I had Jayden, I went with a blind friend so he could give me pointers. He called the cab company and I happened to know it’s one of the pricier ones. He said he calls them because they are the most professional and their drivers are well trained, the cabs always clean. I remember back in my drunk days I used to call a cheap company and yuck. Some of the drivers even smoked in the cabs. So yeah, I’m using a reputable company and I will let them know.

    Gamma and I just kinda got into it. She thought it silly of me to get a cab for such a short distance until I told her I’m sick of being stuck at home and can’t rely on anyone. She understood then, because she’s in the same boat. It’s worth it to me to spend a few extra bucks for some friggin sanity.

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