My mom and I often use our local paratransit service. We usually go several times a month. And sometimes we even get rides several times a week.
Do you know what paratransit is? And who can use it? Paratransit is a type of public transportation for people who have disabilities. It is for those who cannot use fixed public transportation routes. Or live beyond the limits of the fixed bus route.
Our paratransit bus!
With our local paratransit system, my mom has to call ahead of time to schedule her ride. She usually calls a few days before. But she could make the call the day before and still arrange a ride. Although, you can’t call on the day you need a ride. So my mom has to plan ahead.
The paratransit busses are much smaller than the regular busses. And can only transport a few people at a time. Although my mom and I are most often the only passengers when we go.
Paratransit gives my mom a piece of independence she would otherwise not have. We can go to appointments on our own. And even meet friends for lunch.
Or go shopping by ourselves Although, my mom and I haven’t done this yet. She and Buffy used to go shopping to get Christmas gifts. So maybe my mom and I can do it this year.
Watching my mom!
The downside of our local paratransit system is that they are only available during the week, and not on weekends. And they only do transport in the areas local to us. My mom thinks it would open even more doors to opportunities if we had more travel options.
For our paratransit system, they plan to pick the person up a half hour before their scheduled arrival time at the destination. But my mom is always ready at least fifteen minutes before the anticipated pick-up time. Because sometimes they are early. My mom would much rather be early than late!
From what my mom has read over the years, our paratransit system is exceptional. They are almost always on time. And they seldom mess up with their schedules. Unlike some of the stories, she has heard from others. So my mom feels very fortunate.
We usually only use paratransit one way. Although, it would be available to give us a ride home if my mom were to schedule it. But the way my mom schedules her appointments, my dad can pick us up. This arrangement works out perfectly for all of us. My mom and I can do things independently. And my dad doesn’t have to sit in the van and wait for us.
The lift for the wheelchair! I never ride it alone. My mom is always with me!
Are you wondering how mom and I get onto the paratransit bus? My mom rolls her chair onto the lift. And then I walk onto the lift, close to my mom’s chair. Once we are on the lift, my mom always puts her hand against my side. This is so I feel safe and secure as we move.
The lift has a metal-type grate for the surface we are on. Which I don’t mind standing on. But in the beginning, going up and later going down felt strange. It is easy for me now. But I wasn’t too sure I would be okay the first few times.
For our van, we have the fold-out ramp, so we don’t have to wait for a lift to get into place. My mom likes this setup better because it is quicker. Especially if it is raining. Because my mom and I get wetter with paratransit if it is raining. At these times, it feels like the lift takes an extra long time!
Once we are inside, the driver attaches tie-downs to my mom’s chair. This is so the wheelchair won’t slide around while the bus is moving. My favorite part is sneaking little kisses to the driver!
Napping during my ride!
After my mom is secured in place I lay down. And we enjoy our ride to our destination. Sometimes I even take a nap! And sometimes I just look adoringly at my mom!
My mom is grateful for the paratransit service. And the independence it offers us. She is especially grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness of the schedulers and drivers. I am grateful to be with my mom no matter where we go or what we do!