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!
Very nicely said Amber!
I also live with Hammer Residences. I left my previous job earlier this year, in order to find another job that would better fit my needs. Transportation is a huge obstacle that is preventing me from applying for several jobs online that have interested me.
I lost my certification for Metro Mobility several years ago. For my previous jobs, I have either taken Metro Transit buses or Dial-A-Ride because they were both more reliable and on-time than Metro Mobility was.
The Metro Transit buses don’t go everywhere and Transit Link can only be used “for trips that can’t be accomplished on regular transit routes alone.”
In order for me to travel to certain areas of the city, I would have to make two or more transfers and spend 1.5 or more hours getting there. This leaves me with no other options, besides taking a taxi, which would be too expensive for long distance trips during rush hour.
According to Metropolitan Council: “Lack of fixed-route service does not qualify a person for Metro Mobility. If the person could use the fixed route if it were available in their area they would not be eligible.”
I strongly feel that Metro Mobility (Metropolitan Council) and the ADA are discriminating against certain disabled individuals, just because they are able to utilize the bus and/or light rail systems.