Experiences are important in a healthy life. I encourage you to think about your transportation options without artificial limits. I never got a drivers license and I am very happy. I am lucky to live in Lansing, a town with a good public transportation system. There are many ways to get around town. Someone once told me that people with disabilities could not take the city bus. The person who said this did not give a reason and they were wrong. Using the city bus gives me freedom to get around. A lot of the time I use the Lansing bus system para transit service that takes me directly from one place to another. In Lansing this is called Spectran and you arrange your rides at least one day in advance. You have until 5:00 PM the night before to schedule rides and you can set up to two weeks of rides in advance. In cases when you think of going somewhere last minute and do not have a Spectran scheduled you can take the city bus. You may even take the city bus by choice. When talking about public transportation it should be noted it is just one option available to get around town.
Know your options. If you want to drive there is assertive technology out there to help. In the meantime, accepting rides from friends and family or using public transportation are all wonderful options. Some people even use their mobility device, like wheelchairs, to go places. The important thing with choosing any mode of transportation is not letting other people’s assumptions give you limits. There are always things in your life that could possibly limit you, but don’t let that stop you and don’t go by the opinions of acquaintances. I am able to choose to run my errands on a daily basis and get home by using the line bus. I am glad to have the choices I have with transportation which gives me a positive self-image.
My love of public transportation comes from my experiences. I encourage you to learn about your town. If your city does not have what you need, learn the times of your local advisory committee meeting and advocate for change. They have the power to change the system. Transportation is the life blood of the city and your choice to use it gives you freedom. In Lansing, the local Center for Independent Living helped me learn to use the para transit system. I get my bus and para-transit passes at the Lansing CATA station. Public transportation helps me live independently. I encourage you to think about having a good mix of options in your strategy to get around. Don’t let anyone tell you based on their assumptions what you can and cannot do. Independent living is a learned skill; that comes with exercising choices like how to get around town and other importing things. This is not the only way towards independence just a step I took.
Community Inclusion Specialist
Michigan Disability Rights Coalition