Sunday, October 22, 2023

Traveling with a disability

Last week I was quite literally honored to be asked to speak at a self-advocacy conference. It was out in the middle of Suffolk County and I was asked to speak about what it's like to travel with a disability. I'd like to repeat that I was literally honored. I never was asked to do something like this before and I thought it was really cool that people thought of me. I've attended workshops on traveling with a disability and didn't want to think I could repeat them. So I needed to figure out how I would fill 45 minutes.I decided to tell a story of a project.After I introduce myself. I talked about the process of taking accessible transportation from my home in Park Slope to this conference in Ronkonkoma.

The conference was on Friday the 13th. On the Monday of that week I called Accessoride and asked them what I needed to do to take accessible transportation. I found out it came in two steps. First I had to get MTA AAR to tell both the Nassau (Able Ride) and Suffolk County (SCAT) the information that I was a if I user of their service. After that I would be able to book my rides.

Below are the two pages of notes I took as I was dealing with this project. To skip to the end I would have needed to have been picked up at 3:10 a.m. in front of my own house. I would have had to have arranged two transfers at shopping malls and Long Island before it was even daylight in order to arrive at 8:30 in the morning at the hotel in Ronkonkoma. I didn't do that.I took the Long Island Railroad and an Uber. Because I can....But people who can't do that stuff would be traveling all night long to arrive someplace in the morning.One of them was actually in the room with me when I was speaking. She traveled from Nassau County and had to leave her house 4 hours before the meeting started.

‘To ,,

1730 N Ocean Ave, Holtsville, NY 11742

On Monday I called Accessoride and ask them what to do. They told me that the first step was that they needed to notify both able and scat that I am an accessory user

On Tuesday I called accessoride and asked the phone numbers for Abel and scat

able 516 228 4000   scat  631 738 1150

The accessory operator gave me the phone numberFor Westchester Accessoride. Because she thought that was Suffolk County. Even though they didn't know what Westchester was in Suffolk County they told me I needed to callPacific County people and get a ride book from the transfer points to my destination. Then the Nassau County people to get a ride between the two transfer points and then accessorize to get a ride from my house to the transfer point

Scat hold music is cool rock and roll.They told me that my name was not in the system yet and to call access right again

So on 12:27 p.m. I called accessoride back and asked them to send the information to Nassau in Suffolk County's. And they said they would but it takes an hour for the email to get there.

At 128 Scat said it was not in their system yet. Currently on hold againThis time they told me I should call the Suffolk County office for people with disabilities at 631 853 8337When I called that number it left me a recording telling me that it does not work anymore and I should call this number and someone would call me back in 24 hours 631 853 8333

Have to 4 minutes on hold they're automated system offered to call me back.This was a rather complicated pressing of phone buttons.It's been 45 minutes and they haven't called me back. I think I'm going to dial the phone again

3:20 Gave up on being on hold with the Suffolk County Office of Disability. Calling Scat again

So the people at Scott said that it is possible that no one is working in the Suffolk County Office of Disability Services. And that I should call backAfter 9:00 Wednesday morning.

They called me backAt 4:00 p.m.After being on hold since 12:30.They weren't able to answer my question They told me someone would call me back within 24 hours and 15 minutes later they called me back and said I am in their system.

And I just realized that before 5:00 p.m. I should double check with Nassau County and make sure they have the information.

So that's it for today. The Tuesday before my Friday trip.TomorrowI have to call Scott and book a rideTo the hotel in Hopesville from the transfer point. I will tell them I want to arrive at 8:00 a.m.And find out what time they will pick me up at the transfer point.Then I call Abel Ride and get a ride fromThe Green Acres Mall to the transfer point.Then I call accessoride and book a ride to the Green Acres Mall.

Wednesday  8:10am

Calling scat And they told me the informationFrom the Suffolk County Department of Disability Service was not yet transferred to them so I have to call Suffolk County again. Hoping I'm not unhold for 4 hours again 631 853 8337  they open at 9….   

So at 9:00 a.m. I calledThe Suffolk County Office of Disabilities and got the same answering machine I got yesterday.But this time they called me back in 13 minutes. But it was only the call center I had to repeat my story and they said someone would call me back within 24 hours. When I told them I needed to book the ride today they told me they were only the call center and they can only give a message to someone who can help me.Let's see what happens...President creat

Ok, no call back but i just called  the got me!

SCAT to 1730 N Ocean Ave, Holtsville  Pu at sunrise mall  6:15 to 6:45

They said it has to be so early because I didn't book this 5 days in advance. I had no idea I could book anything 5 days in advance because accessoride is only 2 days in advance


ABLE ride to Sunrise mall…….. And they told me to call after 3:30 p.m. on Thursday to find out what time they will pick me up at the Green Acres Mall. So I guess immediately after that I have to call Accessorize to book a ride to the Green Acres Mall

Thursday 3;44 calling able green acres at 4;15 4-446 And I canceled it. But I'm going to call Accessoride and ask them what time I need to be picked up to be at Panera Bread in the Green Acres Mall at 4:15 a.m.

Call access a ride..   ..  pu at   ….  2034 green acres mall And they told me the system is updating and I will get an automated call around 7:00 p.m. as to when I will be picked up. Since I estimate it will be around 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning I guess I should go to sleep now;n’And I asked them if I can use taxi reimbursement authorization to pay for this trip and they said no. That's only available to airports. That's not true it's available to train stations and bus stations 

Pick-Up ETA

3:10 AM

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