The Daily Herald
Gates told the Daily Herald editorial board Oct. 4 that paratransit is “a limousine service, but it’s a federally mandated limousine service that we have to provide. It’s hugely expensive, but it’s something we have to do. It’s the law. It’s a civil right.”
Paratransit rider Ray Campbell of Glen Ellyn said it was anything but a limousine service.
“For one thing, it is a shared ride service, trips in limos are usually not,” Campbell said.
“Often, it can take much longer to get from Point A to Point B on paratransit than in a limo, taxi or private car because more than one person is using that vehicle to get around,” added Campbell, who is visually impaired.
Gates has received numerous complaints from riders with disabilities and was expected to offer an explanation and an apology, RTA deputy executive communication director Diane Palmer said Tuesday.
“He will directly address it and (say) he used a very inappropriate analogy,” Palmer said. She added that Gates had reached out to members of the RTA’s (Americans With Disabilities Act) ADA advisory committee and realized that paratransit is a “lifeline” allowing people with disabilities to be independent.
Former RTA ADA committee member Jim Watkins, who uses a wheelchair, said Gates needed to educate himself on paratransit issues.
“To refer to paratransit as a ‘limousine service’ shows a complete lack of understanding of what paratransit actually is ... we still have people in vehicles for longer than they should be on a daily basis,” Watkins said in an email.
Pace provides paratransit to riders in both Chicago and the suburbs. Rides cost $3 a trip and the preliminary budget for the program is set at $136 million for 2013.
Gates delved into paratransit Oct. 4 as he was explaining how the transit pie is divided with 56 percent going to the CTA, 32 percent to Metra and 12 percent to Pace. But first, paratransit is funded.
“It’s a civil right. It has to come right off the top,” Gates said. “You send out a van every time somebody schedules one. The more volume you have, the more money you lose.
“It’s not like other systems ... where the more volume you have, the more money you make or the less money you lose. That’s the issue, and as the population ages and gets more infirm, the volumes go up faster than the rest of the system,” Gates explained.
“Many people with disabilities use paratransit in order to go to and from work, so they can be taxpaying members of society, not dependent on others to live. They also go to school, local government programs and services, community activities, shopping, to visit family and friends and, yes, to medical appointments using this service. People with disabilities are not sick — we just have to do things differently in some cases because of a disability,” Campbell said.
(correction to article, I was a past Chairperson of the RTA ADA Regional Advisory Committee - Jim)
Below is the previous post and ;
PLEASE JOIN US AT THE RTA BOARD MEETING ON WED. OCT 24, 2012, 9:00 am* THERE WILL BE GIVEN TESTIMONY DURING PUBLIC COMMENT ON CHAIRMAN GATES COMMENTS:
BY HAVING A SHOW OF DIVERSE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, FAMILY MEMBERS, & FRIENDS ATTEND, IT WILL SEND A MESSAGE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2012
ACTION ALERT: RTA Chair refers to disabled as "INFIRM" and Paratransit as a "Limousine Service" - Join us on OCT 24, 2012
The Chicago Daily Herald Editorial Board, and transit reporter Marni Pyke had a meeting with Chicago area's Regional Transportation Authority Chairman John S. Gates Jr. Below is the part of the article on funding, budgets, and service. The below excerpt of the article should be of 'interest' for people with disabilities, and for those that use paratransit service for there public transportation.
Limo service? RTA chairman laments cost of paratransit
Article updated: 10/15/2012
Article By Marni Pyke
The Daily Herald
But before those dollars are awarded, paratransit is funded first — this year receiving about $136 million.For the full article; http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121015/news/710159935/
“It's a civil right. It has to come right off the top,” Gates said. “You send out a van every time somebody schedules one. The more volume you have, the more money you lose.
“It's not like other systems ... where the more volume you have, the more money you make or the less money you lose. That's the issue, and as the population ages and gets more infirm, the volumes go up faster than the rest of the system,” Gates explained.
“It's a limousine service, but it's a federally mandated limousine service that we have to provide,” he added. “The farebox pays 10 percent, we lose a ton of money. ... It's hugely expensive, but it's something we have to do. It's the law. It's a civil right.”
While RTA Chairman Gates description of 'infirm' is as disrespectful AS possible towards all within the disability community, and those that use paratransit, and is far from a limousine service, and to lead the public into blaming people with disabilities that rely on paratransit service as a major reason for the financial and funding issues that have plagued the RTA in there role. Let's be above the RTA and show respect to the process at the RTA Board of Directors meeting.
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