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

  • From: "Charles Atkins" <catkins@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 03:29:59 -0400

Great reporter!

----- Original Message ----- From: "Lynn Evans" <evans-lynn@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 8:16 PM
Subject: [tabi] Re: from today's Democrat: article on Dial-a-Ride


The economy is beating us all up Unfortunately some are getting it a little harder than others. Hang in there everyone and things have got to get better.

I am thankful we have a reporter that will write about our plight.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Armington, Mycell" <Mycell.Armington@xxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 1:16 PM
Subject: [tabi] Re: from today's Democrat: article on Dial-a-Ride


Thank you MR. A. I just want things to get better for us all!
Warm regards,

Mycell Armington (Cellie)







Mycell Armington
Contact Representative
DO 659
Social Security Administration
2002 Old St. Augustine Rd Suite B-12
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 942-9514 x 3012
Mycell.Armington@xxxxxxx

Social Security Benefits America
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-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Charles Atkins
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 12:40 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: from today's Democrat: article on Dial-a-Ride

Ms. Mycell!

Ms. I applaud you,

your courage and,

your leadership!

Charles Atkins


----- Original Message -----
From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 8:19 AM
Subject: [tabi] from today's Democrat: article on Dial-a-Ride


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."

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