Is the Recession Stopping the Disabled From Commuting?

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

Budget cuts are the buzz words in today’s world and rightly so. More and more leaders in organizations are found mismanaging company funds and profiting themselves.

There is nothing wrong with tightening the cash flow of a company. Paratransit systems, transportation providers for people with disabilities, are no exception to these budget cuts. However, in Miami, Florida these cuts are cutting into the needs of its riders, the people with physical disabilities who are unable to ride the public transportation services.

Rumor has it, and you know how we hate to gossip, that in Miami, Florida, one of the largest paratransit operations in the United States, is planning on cutting back the services to the riders.

The leaders claim that its riders have been given beyond what the Americans with Disability Act requires for paratransit services. I can’t disagree with that.

I have been using Miami Dade County’s paratransit service for almost 20 years and when compared to the outline in the ADA regarding paratransit services, Miami has done a really good job going beyond what is required.

Thank goodness! The ADA gives the bare minimum. If people with physical disabilities are given the bare minimum, their lives are barely living.

I spent my 20’s going to clubs at night, job interviews during the day, visiting friends and family whenever I could just like any other person my age with the use of paratransit. Isn’t that making the playing field more leveled?

Could I have done that with a paratransit that went word by word from the ADA? I seriously doubt it.

The county commissioners would like to take us decades back to a time when people with disabilities rarely went out so the ADA guidelines were practically winning lotto tickets for us.

But, ummm times have changed commissioners! People with disabilities have lives!

It’s true!

There are better ways to save money than to take away vital services for people who have no other alternative means of transportation.

Put yourself in our wheels!

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