I've been riding Shared Ride Services (SRS) in multiple states for 20 years. It has not been a satisfying or easy "ride". Long delays, missed appointments, abandoned at my destination and kicked off the service for reasons beyond my control are just some of the few nightmares I've had to deal with. I've also used trollys, trains, buses and the aforementioned SRS. All of them required patience, determination and taking chances with my personal safety I should not have had to take. I've been "abandoned" at my destination more times than I care to remember necessitating frantic phone calls to friends, neighbors and family to rescue me and my service dog. Any reasonable person would be horrified to find themselves in my position. There needs to be a "panic button" or rescue procedure available for those who are disabled to call upon when they find themselves in this position. None of these occasions were due to my lack of planning, being where I was supposed to be or timing. I am an extremely patient person. I know that the transit system doesn't revolve around my wants and needs but when the system breaks down for whatever reason, a disabled individual should receive some form of priority assistance in a reasonable amount of time given the circumstances. Protocols should be established and formulated with volunteers, public safety and/or EMS to facilitate their "rescue". Most transit systems are not equipped to do this in a reasonable time frame or accommodate the rider's needs. Way too many times the transport is not able to comfortably accommodate my service dog (Yellow Lab-70 lbs). Sometimes the floor she has to lay on is unspeakably filthy and I have to clean her before we can present ourselves to a potential employer, customer, place of business, or healhcare provider's office. Since I am visually impaired that is a difficult task to accomplish. Negotiating a moving vehicle while trying to hold onto my service dog and briefcase/purse is a real challenge as well when the front seats are taken. The drivers don't often ask able-bodied people to move back. Since I am hearing impaired that is a challenge too as the intercom system if it works at all is rarely used and the drivers don't always remember to tell me I've reached my stop. Once a driver forgot to change his destination and I was going the wrong way. Getting to the right bus stop to get back on the right track was a huge challenge and required help form passing strangers.
Idea No. 163