Yesterday, at United Cerebral Palsy, one of my students simply wanted to go across the street to buy her favorite coffee. Yet, mobility issues and a lack of help prevented her. Since when should going to the grocery store be a privilege? Later, some friends and I had a discussion about New York's accessibility for people who use wheelchairs. I argued that the system is disrespectful and impossible to navigate. So, I called New York's access-a-ride to find out for myself. (Note: it is virtually impossible to use the subway in NY with a disability. There are very few elevators and these rarely work).
I got the reservation number for access-a-ride off the net. When you call, you have to push through two buttons to get to a person. Not bad. But, the first time, my call was disconnected. The second time I got someone right away. Here's the lowdown. You have to reserve 1-2 days in advance. There are no 'same day calls.' So, evidently PWD have to plan ahead. Say, if they are going nuts and need to get to a movie -- they are out of luck. Next, you can request a time, but there are no guarantees that the van will arrive on time. Also, this is a 'shared' ride, so when you are dropped off is up in the air. Evidently, PWD don't need to be on time. Finally, I asked if I could use the service daily to go to work. I was told I needed to call another department. The BEST thing was that the operator was nice.
Here is the message: People with disabilities are unlikely to need to be on time. They live in a timeless universe and yet, they should plan ahead, and they aren't expected to have jobs.
I really would like people to see these problems. Why do we go on about so many problems and yet people right in our neighborhood are denied basic rights?
Note: the bar that we were at is not accessible.