Those who know me, known access to transport for those living with disability a particular hobby horse for me. Any service provider in Ipswich will tell you the availability and affordability of transport is the major barrier to community participation for those living with disability. The key objective of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is participation.
As an artists I do not keep regular business hours and many functions are hosted after 5 pm. Going out at night is always stressful and a real deterrent for me. Assuming I arrive on time, the concern is always will there be a maxi cab available at the end of the meeting or function.
About two years ago I decided it was less stressful to take my manual chair out, although more exhausting than being told their we no maxi drivers on in Ipswich that night. Business hours are just as frustrating. It is nothing unusual to wait 2 hours for a cab. Try planning meetings around that!
Fortunately for me I gained confidence in scooting around town on battery power. This option is only available due to my location to the CBD. As an epileptic public transport is not too much fun unaided. Imagine a bus driver if I had a seizure on root. There is a myth that life for those with disabilities is not stressful. After all this is the stress my career carriers. Another myth, all people with disabilities have a career.
This is not the only access issues when transport is involved. add to this the layer of my communication disorder and people wanting to confirm destination with a career and some days end in meltdowns.
Some of the issues around transport for others are:-
- residential address and access to public transport.
- services and community activities are not all conveniently located.
- Travel time - not matching support sessions times. e.g bus/train link up makes arrival times for activities not possible.
- Areas with no public transport e.g Lowood
- Medical reasons why public transport can not be accessed.
- Transport services not fitting in with support times.
Life is never as simple as travelling from A to B. In the transition to support under the NDIS we were promised no gaps in service delivery and yet funding for transport alternatives has been pulled. I now pay 80 cents per km to get from A to B. Only when traveling in cab is transport half price. Yep affordable on the DSP - not!
Transport continues to prevent community participation for those living with disabilities.