Thursday, 28 March 2013

I have taken my battle with

the Department of Transport up with the Equal Opportunity Commission. 
I have thought long and hard about this. I do not like complaining but the situation has not been resolved. They have had three months to sort out a situation which should never have occurred in the first place.
In all fairness someone in the department might have thought they had the solution to the problem. It is more likely however that it was a last minute decision made without any real thought when the department realised that no provision had been made for people who were not, for one reason or another, able to use the substitute bus service. 
I spent half of yesterday trying to reach the person in the Equal Opportunity Commission. She had left an e-mail giving me a wide period of time in which to call her. She was unavailable. I left a message on her answering machine and an e-mail and went and vented my frustration on my scratching post. She phoned me just after 6pm. She was still in the office and just back from a meeting. She apologised for not being there after having suggested the times she would be available and asked if we could discuss the situation right then. I was not going to stop her!
We discussed the situation. I told her I had placed the complaint largely in the hope of getting the transport people to actually make a decision. She saw that as sensible but as there still has not been a response the complaint is now a formal one. I also said I was informally making the complaint on behalf of people who were similarly disadvantaged but less able to make a complaint. She agreed that was sensible too. 
She also asked if the department's proposed solution been advertised. To that I had to answer I was not sure - as far as I know the information was only on the website. You had to be able to look there to know what was going on. We both agreed it was all about saving money. 
I am however not sure how far we will get. Naturally the department is going to delay the matter still further - and why not? It means they are saving money. I don't blame them for that. If I was responsible for spending taxpayer money I would want to make sure it wasn't being wasted. I suspect they will argue that their solution works and it us up to me to be "flexible". They will argue that I can always tell them the day before if I need to travel - and that I only need to travel if medical or dental appointments are involved. Anything else will be considered "want" rather than "need".  I can, I am sure go without a social life until October.
But, I had a wicked little thought last night, I wonder what they would do if I was called up for jury duty and required to attend a trial which lasted for weeks? It is not likely to happen and I would probably be excused or, at very least, could have it delayed.  But if the court insisted I be there I wonder who would pay for my transport? Perhaps I should ask them. 
In the meantime however I am making frustrated marks on my scratching post.


Vanessa Gebbie said...

what triggered this, Cat?

catdownunder said...

Hi Vanessa
I wrote a previous post about this. Our local railway line has been closed until October. As I cannot take my tricycle on the substitute bus service (and a number of other people cannot take their mobility aids on the buses either) the transport department was supposed to provide an alternative. The problem is the alternative does not work. They provide a taxi one way if you tell them the day before that you need to travel... how do you get home again?

Anonymous said...

Cat is having that battle for a number of other people as well Vanessa. The "solution" is ridiculous - and only covers "need" to travel - i.e. only something like a medical appointment.
Cat that point about jury duty is interesting...same would apply to you being available to assist with communication I would think and that could easily arise. Chris

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Goodness - someone hasn't thought this through, have they? Good for you for fighting it, Cat.

Anonymous said...

I wish you luck ... and you will need it to get any sense out of the government.