This morning I had the fortunate opportunity to hear from a neighbor about her experience with transportation; an experience framed by the way transportation impacts a senior. In the dialogue below I recount her story as best I can recall; paraphrasing and summarizing a two-sided story into a first-person narrative.
I've been looking for a three-wheeled bicycle; one that I can step thru and that I can move on my own to carry my groceries and my dog. Today, I found the tricycle I wanted. Just forty nine dollars, can you believe that?! It's in great shape, just a few spots of rust here and there, but I checked the brakes and everything and I just need it fixed up so I can ride home. I want to make sure it doesn't rust any more; I'll have to take the bus to Walmart so I can buy a tarp to drape over it on my porch. I don't have anywhere to park it inside, my apartment community doesn't offer storage, but the bike will roll right on to my porch. As long as I can keep it locked up safe, and covered I won't need to wait to get my groceries any more.
I take the bus often, but it only runs until 6:00pm. It works if I want to pick up groceries, but I have to make sure I plan so that it drops me off with enough time, and so that I'm quick enough to get the next bus in an hour. If I take more than an hour I'll miss the bus back, and I'll have to wait with my groceries for another hour and hope I didn't get anything perishable. I'm eligible for the call-a-ride program, but I can't use it unless I reserved a ride twenty four hours before. I don't like to use it often though, especially if I'm not sure how long I'll be. If you know when you'll be done it will pick you up on time, but if you're not sure you get transferred to will-call and by the time you know you need to be picked it could be fifteen minutes or it could be over an hour.
The regular bus doesn't come on Sunday, and if I take it on Saturday to go a little further to visit my friends in the next city over I have to plan ahead. I can only meet them for a short while, it takes three buses and an hour of travel to go six miles. I only make the extra trip every once in awhile, its just too hard to get back and forth between the stops and have enough time.
I'm moving soon and I hope they don't mind that I'll be locking my bike to the community patio; I won't have a porch in the new home and I'm keeping my bike on the patio. This bike will be great for picking up my groceries, and my dog can ride everywhere with me. I won't have to wait on anyone else anymore, this will take me anywhere my legs will push it along.