By Self-Advocate, Amber
My name is Amber. I am 29 years old, and I have an intellectual disability. Because of this, I live in an apartment in Plymouth where I receive support from Hammer Residences. I am very independent and like to be active. I am a Special Olympics athlete, and I work as a Dietary Aid at Cornerstone Assisted Living in Plymouth. I work hard and am proud of my job.
Because of my disability, I cannot drive. I rely on several sources to help me get to where I need to go, especially to work. But each comes with an added challenge or cost, making it tough for me to work consistently and as many hours as I would like. The transportation services I most regularly use are Metro Mobility or taxi cabs. I can also get rides form my Hammer staff or just ride my bicycle.
I live 2.73 miles from where I work. Depending on traffic, it would take about 6 minutes for me to get to work by car. However, when I ride Metro Mobility, it takes between 25 – 30 minutes to go this same distance. Plus, I often wait 20 – 30 minutes to be picked up. I don’t like to be late for work. So, sometimes, when I get very anxious about being on time, I just call a cab which costs me $10.00 each way. It might not seem like a lot of money, but it adds up quickly. I also get penalized if I don’t cancel my ride with Metro Mobility an hour in advance. If that happens twice, I am unable to receive rides from Metro Mobility for 2 months.
Sometimes, my staff can give me a ride. However, if a staff person gives me a ride, that means they may be short staffed back at the apartments where I live. I am grateful when they can help, but I know there are also 11 other people that Hammer serves at my apartment complex.
Right now, I work about 20 hours a week. I would like to add extra hours to my work week, but Metro Mobility’s hours of operation limit my ability to pick up another shift.
I simply ask that legislators please take a closer look at these accessibility issues and that they support efforts to improve transportation opportunities for people with disabilities. THANK YOU!