for three days next week.
I was startled to get a message in my blog comments from someone in the Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure asking me to contact him about this. He had tried to send an email. It had bounced. I can only assume he had been monitoring the comments on another site relating to the proposed permanent closure of another station.
Well, it was nice of him to let me know. I genuinely appreciate that. It means I have to make other arrangements.
You see we are back to the old problem. It is a problem which seems to be beyond the ability of the transport people to solve. I have tried. The Equal Opportunity Commission has tried. Two members of parliament have tried. None of us have got anywhere.
If you can't access a bus they say then we will provide an Access Cab. It sounds good until you realise that an Access Cab has to be booked in advance. During the line closure they are available only for "necessary" trips. It does not allow for social outings - and yes, people do have social outings in the break over Christmas and New Year. There are emergencies.
The Access Cab is also only permitted to take you from one station to another. That also sounds perfectly reasonable until you realise that the cab is going to take you further than you need to go. It might actually be going past your destination - literally past the door.
I tried to point this out to the transport people. If, as occasionally happens, I get a call from a hospital or a government department to provide some communication assistance for someone within the CBD I will normally put the trike on the train and go into the city that way. If I used a taxi it would not need to go as far as the station. It would actually cost less. I could actually use it because I wouldn't need to try and get from the station to my final destination.
And the other problem is that no, I don't know when I will need to leave again so I can't book an access cab for the return journey the day before. Things happen in hospitals, in the courts, in government departments. Delays are common. I can take work with me but I don't know when I am going to need to leave. Access Cabs are also notorious for keeping people waiting too - often for hours. It isn't the fault of the drivers. There aren't enough to go around at peak times. I don't need an access vehicle if you do the sensible thing and drop me at the door - and provide me with a voucher to get back to my local railway station where I hope I can park the tricycle safely and not get it vandalised or stolen.
I know that, in a real emergency, someone else will pay for a taxi. Once they even diverted a non-urgent ambulance which was transporting an elderly man from one hospital to another. Fortunately he thought the whole thing was rather interesting. But, that's not the point. The point is that the problem could be solved with a bit of common sense and a small amount of flexibility. I will continue to make representations as I know I am not the only person who faces such problems but it shouldn't be necessary.
In the meantime I just hope I don't need to go anywhere - even if I'd like to.