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 > > to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word > unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > > > > if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web > interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx > with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject. > Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI to unsubscribe send a message, containing a subject line of the word unsubscribe, to tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.