If we, people with disabilities, wish to have our voices heard, then we must first make an effort to be part of the conversation. I have often done this with GoTriangle, our local transit system. I fairly regularly leave feedback, good and sometimes less happy, to their Twitter feed, and I usually receive a prompt response when one is called for.
Last month, I asked their social media person Samantha Allen to participate in an interview for the podcast I posted from the prior class. (I got a 97 on that by the way, which makes me very happy). I was pleased with all of the assistance I got in putting that together, and so I jumped at an opportunity to do my part by adding comments regarding GoTriangle’s push to create a light rail line that runs through Durham and Orange counties. I was indeed featured in the video which you can see buy clicking that link. My clip is about 30 seconds in, and lasts for approximately ten seconds.
I am impressed that they managed to distill something useful from that hour-long conversation, because it was difficult to think straight after a long workday that had left my brain in a fog. Beyond what was played, I discussed how blind people make use of automated announcements (which seem to have been modified slightly already,) the need to ensure that any such system would be accessible to all, including persons in wheelchairs, and the potential viability it could add to the community. I do think my thoughts were heard and considered, which I appreciate.
I saw on the video that a commenter already made the point that “disruptive technology” (think, Uber) is changing the equation when it comes to public transit. Well I don’t entirely agree with that. I think these two systems can work in concert with each other, especially as ride-hailing costs considerably more. It is good to have in a pinch and can grant me access to other areas that are not as easily reached by public transit, but for an affordable way to and from work as well as better crowd-moving during sporting events and the like large-scale mass transit still can’t be beat. Not to mention that it actually does contribute to the life of the community, resulting in real connections that change things.
So I am looking forward to the creation of this system, assuming I will remain in the area long enough to see it come to fruition. Frequent, widely available transit will increase my choices for where to live and work, and I believe that we all deserve as broad a level of access to those dimensions as we can get.
Thanks again to the folks at GoTriangle, who in my op[inion are in fact making an effort to get input from every aspect of their communities before going forward with this project. I will continue to generate comments as they come up during my commute.