Friday, 15 February 2013

I was not going to write this but....

I am feeling angry. I think I mentioned somewhere on this blog that our local railway line has been closed until September. So has another line in a similar direction.
Work is being done to make it easier for the long goods trains to go through without stopping. Supposedly this will also be less disruptive for the passenger services.  
Now there is a lot wrong with this. In the first place the goods trains should not be coming into the city at all. They come in and the shipping containers in which everything is transported are then unloaded onto trucks (lorries) and, for the most part, taken north or north-west. Only a tiny percentage of it goes elsewhere.
The sensible thing would be to route all the goods trains through the north. The logical thing to do would be to route them all through the north. It would save time. It would save transport costs. It would cut down heavy goods traffic through urban areas etc etc. There is a  line that could be used. It needs rejuvenation and repair but it could have been done. It would have cost more but figures, produced by the government themselves as well as others, showed that it would have ultimately saved money. It was not done. The money was "not available" - although there has been other money for other, less worthy projects.
All this is to be  expected. What is not to be expected is that I, and a number of other people, should be without any form of public transport for eight months. 
Oh yes, there is a "substitute bus service". The transport authority kindly put on a bus service for people who do not have cars or cannot drive cars. They did not even forget about those of us who cannot, for one reason or another, use buses. 
So, what am I complaining about? I cannot take my tricycle on a bus. (I can take it on a train.) I use my tricycle at either end of the journey to get around. My ability to roam the city is restricted to the areas around the railway lines - or someone taking me there in a car. 
Oh right, the transport authority said. We will provide taxi vouchers if you need  to travel. That is where the problem begins. Their glorious idea is that the individual must telephone in advance and ask (beg) for taxi vouchers - one journey at a time. They will then provide them. 
Now notice the word "need". I was verbally advised this means things like medical and dental appointments. It might cover a requirement to appear in court "although you could probably get refunded from them". It is unlikely that it would cover anything else.
It does not cover the sort of medical situation which requires someone to appear at the dental surgery or hospital on the same morning. It does not cover a request to attend a meeting so that a person with a severe communication impairment can have an advocate present. Anything like attending a meeting, meeting a friend, going to anything else - or even doing shopping that cannot be done locally - is apparently not acceptable. It can all be done after September of this year - unless of course the other person with a disability needs your help now or your friends are from overseas and not staying that long.
Some people have said, "Too bad. You don't have to pay much for your use of public transport most of the time. Put up with it. It's only a few months."
I do not agree with that point of view. Maybe I am being unreasonable but I don't believe I am. Having thought long and hard about this I went to the office of our local MP. I know the MP's secretary quite well. I suggested to her that, at very least, a few taxi vouchers to cover emergencies was not unreasonable. She agreed - agreed to the point of saying without  prompting that she would make inquiries - and she did.
There has still been no action. There have been stalling responses to  her queries. I expected this. I know they do not want to reply. To give in would be to recognise that their policy is ridiculous and simply does not work. They do not want it to work. Supplying taxis is expensive. They have made it as complex and demeaning as possible in the hope that people will not apply. 
I am capable of making a fuss about this. The question is, should I make a fuss? I think the answer is yes - because not everyone I know in this position can make a fuss.  That is what makes me really angry.


gemma said...

yes, Cat, make a fuss. What a horrible situation. what about going out because you can't stand to be in the same four walls for eight months?
bloody government sometimes!

jeanfromcornwall said...

If you don't make a fuss, who will?

widdershins said...

You'll probably get an answer ... around September!

catdownunder said...

I will make a fuss because others can't Jean but I suspect Widdershins is right about the time frame