Will it be a December to remember for Para Transpo riders — #ParaTranspoInDecember

I received a lot of feedback to my article last week about Para Transpo now offering “unlimited bookings.”  By all accounts, it seems that with most of the feedback, people were skeptical, and now with free transit in December, Para Transpo riders have good reasons to be concerned.

Here’s the funny part to me.

The whole reason for all public transit being free in December is to get more people to start using the LRT again and trust it. That in itself, I feel, is going to backfire. All you have to do is go on Twitter, and you’ll see all of the delays and news of stalled and broken trains.

Meanwhile, over on Para Transpo’s side of Twitter, you’ll see several riders discussing rides being late, others calling out the city on their broken promises, and choosing to ignore many of our issues and concerns, including those related to Covid.

I’d dare say that most Para Transpo riders don’t trust Para Transpo, and why should they?

As I noted last week, now that there’s more traffic on the road, some Para Transpo riders have to wait at least 45 minutes for their pick-up. Yet, the city does very little to fix the problem. Yes, the city recently hired five drivers, which is a start. I wouldn’t say that it’s a good start because the issues go much deeper.

Last week I was contacted by someone with inside knowledge. For obvious reasons, they requested to stay anonymous. This person stated that some trips are already being refused. One reason is, of course, due to a lack of drivers and vehicles. Another part of the reason is that some Para Transpo riders are adding extra people to all of their bookings, and they aren’t PSW or caregivers.

The reason why they’re adding extras is so they can have the vehicle to themselves to lower their risk of getting Covid. While I partly understand the rider’s reason, this shouldn’t be allowed.

Para Transpo has minimal resources, and it’s been that way for years and years. Whenever someone books a ride on Para Transpo, that’s their spot, their trip. When a Para Transpo rider adds one or two extra people to their ride, their spot becomes one or two. At this point, the driver’s unable to pick up another passenger. Therefore, other trips are being refused because there’s no room and a lack of drivers and vehicles.

Over the years, there have been tons of times where I couldn’t book my rides, and some of those rides were to medical appointments. There have also been times where my rides were cancelled without my knowledge. Under certain circumstances, that could quickly become a dangerous situation, especially during Winter.

So, I ask, what actual evidence do Para Transpo riders have that “unlimited bookings” will work, and, on top of that, during December when transit will be free?

There will be Christmas shopping, Christmas social gatherings, Church, Boxing Day shopping, and we can’t forget New Year’s Eve.

Along with all those holiday-related trips, life in general rolls on. Some Para Transpo riders will still have medical appointments to get to, grocery shopping, work, social events, hockey games, movies & the list goes on.

How many of those trips will be refused or mysteriously cancelled?

I’d love to make a bet, but since I’m on ODSP, the winner would only get like two dollars.

So, this is what I’m going to do, and I’m hoping that other Para Transpo riders will join me in this.

During December, I will be using Para Transpo more. Right now, I can’t say how much because it depends on my schedule, the weather, and other factors. My point is that I’ll be taking more trips on Para Transpo in December because it’ll be free.

Each time I take a trip, I will post on Social Media how long I waited, and, of course, any times that I wasn’t able to book a ride, or Para Transpo mysteriously cancelled it.

I’m issuing a challenge to all Para Transpo riders to please do the same. Since we live in a world of hashtags, the hashtag for this will be #ParaTranspoInDecember

For December, please use the hashtag #ParaTranspoInDecember to post any & all times you experience delays with Para Transpo or that you weren’t able to book your preferred times. 

Please do not use the hashtag to report drivers' issues, anything not related to delays, or problems with booking your trips.

I realize that some Para Transpo riders don’t have social media or even a computer. I apologize, but for the time being, this will only be on social media.

I hope that we will provide plenty of evidence as to why many riders still don’t trust Para Transpo and why Para Transpo isn’t equipped to handle unlimited bookings.

If you wish to be anonymous, please feel free to message me. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.