Home is where we spend time, not serve time in

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m referring to falls. I know Fall officially arrived a few weeks ago, but we have been lucky with still having Summer-like weather here in Ottawa. However, as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever.

With the temperatures getting colder, I’ll be staying home more often. Due to the pandemic, I’ve been going out for less than I typically would.

And I have to admit that I’m becoming more and more comfortable with staying home. This is not to say that I’m a homebody or becoming an introvert. I miss my friends dearly, especially face-to-face interactions. I would just prefer to have them come to my place, or I go there when possible.

After 5, 10 years, or however long it’s been. Hey, admit it, it does feel like 5-10 years that we’ve been in a “Covid time zone.” I still wake up some days needing to keep checking what day it is. The other thing too is that I also work from home.

Do any of you that work from home forget what day it is? Have you become more comfortable with staying home since Covid hit?

Please let me know. If nothing else, I’d love to hear from you to tell me that I’m not alone or crazy.

With that in mind, though, I do want to say that I will still be going out from time to time, but I’ll be using Para Transpo to go anywhere far or even within Centretown. The same goes for many of my friends, especially since LRT has been derailed.

Last week, I read a few articles stating that the city plans to be more aggressive when clearing snow from residential streets and sidewalks. We’ve heard this story many, many times now. I won’t be holding my breath.

Not that I can hold my breath anyway.

Every year, Ottawa promises to do a better job with snow removal, but they never do. I still see people in wheelchairs having a hard time using the sidewalks during Winter and even getting stuck. Some people with disabilities and the elderly are afraid to go out in case they get stuck, and I don’t blame them.

Our city continues to let down their residents. Just take a look at the LRT. In the beginning, there was a ton of promises made saying that we’ll have world-class service and that the LRT would solve some of our transportation issues. For a little while, that was true. When Ottawa was in lockdown and more were staying home, the LRT was still mostly doing ok.

Here’s the thing though, most people were staying home. To say that the LRT was doing well during a lockdown is like a person with a disability trying to use one of the small, sketchy elevators at an LRT stop.

Well, it still works.

Hmmm, yeah, not so much.

Here we are two years later, and buses are overcrowded again during a pandemic. Para Transpo is slowly returning to normal by forcing some passengers to wait  30-60 minutes at times.

So, somebody, please tell me why I should believe any promises made by the city of Ottawa?

The other thing that I noticed, and leads to more doubt, is that there wasn’t a single mention of people with disabilities in those articles.

Again, in the eyes of the city and most media outlets, people with disabilities don’t exist, and we don’t go out.

On several occasions, my wheelchair has gotten stuck in the snow while I was on my way to board Para Transpo or an OC Transpo bus.

There is simply no excuse for this other than the city simply doesn’t care about us and having safe public transportation.

And that’s another reason why myself and others are finding it more appealing and, frankly, safer to stay home.

This is not a healthy way to live, though. Being able to get out to socialize is extremely important for several reasons, including mental health.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. When it comes to public transportation, the city of Ottawa needs to do more, especially when it comes to people with disabilities.

We shouldn’t need to feel forced to stay home. We’re not prisoners.

Hire more drivers for Para Transpo to use those Para Transpo vehicles that sit empty on the OC Transpo lot.

For a city that has over a million people now, our public transportation system has become a disgrace.

It’s time to get rolling on it.