Monday, December 7, 2009

A block too far

My daughter Allyson is in a wheelchair.  She's been in one pretty much all her 21 + years.  I've worked to encourage her to do her own thing - be independent - and I'm very proud of her accomplishments and independence.

Allyson can't drive, nor can she 'ride the bus' if she wants to go somewhere. I can't take her everywhere either.  So she relies on an outfit called RADAR, an acronym for Roanoke Agencies Dial A Ride. RADAR is one of two handicap public transportation services in the area; the other is CORTRAN, for County of Roanoke Transportation.  RADAR serves the Cities of Roanoke and Salem; CORTRAN serves Roanoke County.

What happens if you want to cross the border?  Apparently you can't do it!

Allyson recently joined Fellowship Community Church (FCC).  She loves it there, and they are very supportive of her.  FCC provides transportation as part of its ministry on Sundays; other days there are members who might be able to help but the folks at that church have day jobs they need to go to. They've got a function this coming Wednesday night and since she wants to go, she called RADAR and booked the trip.  RADAR called back and canceled.

The Problem:  Fellowship Community Church is about two blocks over the line into the County from the City of Salem. So RADAR can't take her according to the rules.  Funny thing:  RADAR has taken Allyson to Fellowship several times in the past. And gee, it appears that they use the same vehicles as CORTRAN.

Question:  Can a CORTRAN rider be taken to Roanoke City or Salem? If they can, why can't a Salem/Roanoke City rider be taken to a Roanoke County destination? 

The RADAR/CORTRAN/etc. website gives absolutely NO rules of where you can and can't go. Call them and they say that Roanoke Valley Metro sets the rules.  Go to the Valley Metro Site and nowhere do you find the rule that you can't cross the city/county line. Unless you're going to Tanglewood Mall, which is in the county. But forget about going to the doctor's office a block away from Tanglewood. And I haven't even tried to navigate the County's website for more information.

SO, if you live in Salem or Roanoke City and need 'paratransit', don't try to go to Roanoke County or get a job in Roanoke County. And if you live and work in the County and use CORTRAN, don't move to the city or you'll lose your job.

Valley inter-government cooperation?  Not for 'paratransit'. Of course, I'm not surprised.  Our governments hate the poor.

No comments:

Post a Comment