[tabi] Re: from today's Democrat: article on Dial-a-Ride

  • From: Beth <thebluesisloose@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 12:13:56 -0400

Wow.  GGood thing I don't use Dial-a-ride anymore not like I did
ayway.  Dial-await ticketsare still rottingaway in my purse though.
lol
Beth

On 6/8/09, Allison and Chip Orange <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> June 8, 2009
> Some Dial-A-Ride users left waiting
> With a funding decrease, service has had to prioritize rides
> By Doug Blackburn
> DEMOCRAT SENIOR WRITER
> Mycell Armington leads a busy life.
> She works at the Social Security Administration as a contact representative,
> a job
> she's held for the past 31 years. She's a worship leader in her church, and
> in her
> spare time she visits correctional facilities to preach to inmates.
> But Armington is finding Leon County considerably more difficult to navigate
> in the
> past two months.
> Armington, who is legally blind, lives just north of the city limits. She
> relies
> on Dial-A-Ride's community transportation program for almost all of her
> trips.
> But due to a decrease in state funding - compounded by an increase in
> ridership -
> Dial-A-Ride has been forced for the first time to institute a priority
> system for
> providing rides. Medical trips are the No. 1 priority, followed by
> employment-education
> and grocery shopping.
> "It's gotten much worse," Armington said. "It's totally bumped people off of
> any
> going to church. It's considered a social activity, instead of spiritual or
> mental-health
> enrichment.
> "It's taken away my freedoms," she added. "It's a major issue."
> Armington isn't the only one who's struggling to cope with the new priority
> system
> at Dial-A-Ride, which she has taken to calling "Dial-A-Wait." The priority
> system
> went into effect at the end of March.
> Dorothy Martin, who lives just east of the city limits, is frustrated that
> she can
> no longer get rides for classes at the Senior Center.
> "I can't even go to the grocery store when I want to now," Martin said. "I
> don't
> have a life now that they've cut the service back so much. I can't go
> anywhere anymore."
> Ronald Garrison, executive director at StarMetro, said he empathizes with
> riders
> who consider the new priority system an inconvenience. Almost all
> recreational trips
> have been eliminated, he said, because of the decrease in funding from the
> Commission
> for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CTD), the state agency housed within
> the Department
> of Transportation.
> "People need to be talking to their legislators to look at different ways to
> provide
> the funding," Garrison said.
> Leon County's CTD funding for the current fiscal year was decreased by about
> $19,000,
> from $446,373 to $427,768, according to Donna Peacock, StarMetro's
> superintendent
> of paratransit operations.
> Meanwhile, ridership is up significantly. For the first six months of the
> fiscal
> year, which started Oct. 1, there were 109,836 riders, compared to 96,329
> the previous
> year, Peacock said. This includes the bus-pass program.
> "We've run this (paratransit) program five years, and never had to put a
> priority
> policy in place," Peacock said. "It's sort of come to a head now.
> "Some of that may be due to the economy and more folks needing
> transportation. I
> don't know what else to do. If there's no money, there's no money."
> Bobby Jerningan, executive director of CDT, the state agency, acknowledges
> that the
> "system is spread a little thin right now."
> "We've had to dial back on our expenditures for next year," Jernigan said.
> "It is
> a hardship on those individuals who have grown to depend on this
> transportation service.
> It's a major deal."
> It's certainly a major deal for Armington, Martin and others. Armington said
> she
> can't afford to pay $35 to $40 for a cab, when Dial-A-Ride costs her $2.50.
> "I lead a very active and normal life and I intend to do so for the rest of
> my life,"
> Armington said. "But this has made it really difficult.
> "I'm also afraid of speaking out, because I may be a candidate for
> retaliation."
>
> Check out the TABI resource web page at
> http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
>
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