The subway was down this weekend in Toronto. Joe and I had plans on heading down to Dundas Square on Sunday and the subway was part of that plan. We knew that buses had been put on duty to shuttle people on surface routes normally part of the subway run.
The big city buses intimidate me and I've never ridden them before. I've spoken to a number of others with disabilities who tell tales of horror the impatience and low level aggression from other riders who don't like the wait it takes to load a wheelchair onto the bus. In any case my chair, not surprisingly, is a big chair and I am not even sure it would be able to make some of the turns to get into the city bus. So. We were wondering about simply changing our plan.
Then Saturday morning we had to traverse a very crowded corner. There were masses of people lined up to get on buses and there were three or four people hired by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to get people smoothly on and smoothly off. I could easily identify the supervisor there and made my way over to him. I asked him if the WheelTrans buses were part of the fleet that shuttled people back and forth. He said, quickly and without question, 'Certainly, I'll call you one now.' I stopped him and told him that we were planning on travel on Sunday and it was good to know we still could. He assured me that the TTC would get me there jokingly reminding me that it was "the better way."
As it turned out our Sunday did not include taking the bus to the square. We found a movie we wanted to see only a few blocks from us and we decided we'd rather do the movie and then pop over to the pub for an hour or two afterwards. Real Sunday stuff. So our plans changed, not because we couldn't do what we'd planned but because we changed our plan. My disability, my transport needs weren't included in that discussion.
I was impressed by whomever, at the TTC, planned it so that disabled riders had an option that fit our mobility needs. It still surprises me, in certain situations, we've been included in their planning. I know that I have been advised by my disabled elders to not fall into the trap of being grateful for what is, or should be, rightfully mine. And I'm not here. (Well, maybe a little, sue me.) But what I'm grateful about is the fact that at those meetings when they planned alternatives, someone said, some one person said, "We need to plan for people with disabilities too."
So whoever you were!
Hip Hip (Ouch) Hurrah.