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Phone blitz results in letters but not much else for Para Transpo users

The Healthy Transportation Coalition's 'Para Parity' petition demands an online booking option or smartphone app for Para Transpo users.
Para Transpo bus. (Aug. 12, 2019/Jenn Pritchard)

Para Transpo users continue to fight for an online booking system, but a recent rally cry didn't result in much more than a couple of letters from city officials. 

Last week, members of the Healthy Transportation Coalition jammed the phone lines and inboxes of Transit Commission chair Allan Hubley, mayor Jim Watson, deputy mayor Matt Luloff and of Transportation Services Department General Manager John Manconi. 

"We got a form letter back from Mr. Hubley and our mayor -- the same exact letter," said coalition member Sally Thomas. "I was hoping to have an actual dialogue with more than one of them." 

Thomas explained that someone in councillor Hubley's office told her that the online booking system was being developed and had been worked on over the last two months. But, when she tweeted out the good news, Thomas got a reply from the councillor saying it was a misunderstanding. 

The online booking system is something that Para Transpo users have been asking for, for years. Those using the current system are forced to wait, on hold, sometimes for hours at a time to book a ride for the next day. 

Thomas told 1310 NEWS that there are other cities in Ontario using an online system, in both small and large communities. 

"I think that all council and staff would have to do, would be to consult with these municipalities and see how they do it because it is working for them, [but] they refuse [to do that]." 

An Para Transpo online booking system is set to be discussed at a future Transit Commission meeting, but Thomas feels it's not soon enough and worries that if they wait to long, it won't make it on to the city's 2020 budget. 

She feels this would leave those with accessibility issues waiting that much longer for a solution. 

The Healthy Transportation Coalition has also launched a petition asking for 'Para Parity,' or a more equitable accessible service from OC Transpo. 

For more information, or to sign the petition, click here


Jenn Pritchard

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