Tuesday, 3 September 2013

DATS rolls out new two-hour cancellation policy today; user Brenda Lewis responds

This is the day the Disabled Adult Transportation System rolls out their new two-hour cancellation policy. I think we have to keep an eye on this, looking for the good and the not so good it will bring. If you are a DATS user, please email your thoughts and experiences on the changes here.

In the DATS newsletter, the changes were explained Brenda Lewis shares her opinions one the answers from DATS.

       DATS newsletter question: What about medical appointments? What if they are running late?       DATS answer: When you book your appointment, let them know you will be traveling on DATS and confirm how much time you will need for your appointment. Please allow enough time for your appointment before your return trip. If you finish up early, just call and let us know you are ready early. 
       BRENDA LEWIS:  “Asking how long an appointment might be is unreliable to
say the least.  Never would the doctor be consulted about the length of an appointment, so a nurse or receptionist would not be qualified to answer
that question.
       The question should be; what happens when DATS gets me there late?

       Why are same day trips becoming more of a priority then trips dutifully made one to three days in advance? Would I fare better booking
same days all the time if same day trips are a higher priority than previously booked trips! Is there incentive?
  DATS newsletter question: What if roads are bad and I arrive late and can't use my return trip?
DATS Answer: Late cancellations are not recorded on your file if it is because DATS was late getting you to your destination.  
       BRENDA: “That's the least they can do, and I do mean the least!! Quite the olive branch!
        Raise your hand if you think bad roads are the only reason DATS would get you to your destination late??”

  DATS question: What if I can’t make my early morning trip?
  DATS answer: For trips before 7 a.m. weekdays and before 8 a.m. weekends, the current cancellation notice will still apply.

       BRENDA: “This rule should be moved from 7 am to 10 am. Many people are not awake or, if needing assistance getting out of bed, before 7 or 8 am.  
       If you are ready early to go home, you can phone to see if they can pick you up early.  What if we get to our destination late?  Will we be able
to be picked up later to accomplish what we went to do or have to call it a write off and a total waste of a trip? DATS doesn't want their time wasted
but mine is up for grabs! Is my time worth less than theirs?

       This new rule might not be as hotly contested if it hadn't been preceded by other rule changes that put more limits on our independence.
Booking three days in advance as opposed to two. Some people like it, some don't.  Life is not cut and dried so please tell me how well I can make a
booking(3 days ahead) when I don't know when I will get there???  Allow yourself 90 minutes to get somewhere whether it's ten blocks away or clear
across the whole city?  
       In the summer months, during decent weather, I could decide to cancel DATS and take the regular ETS, (which I thought was highly encouraged, by the way). But with our weather changes, even an hour would be better for feeling confident the weather will hold if I cancel!!
       It might look good on paper but taking a trip off one driver's schedule but adding a new trip to someone else's schedule results in someone
getting behind.  

Reading between the lines, I come away with: if DATS is not working for you, you can always twist your daily life schedule to fit theirs.  I am not
saying I'm demanding or expecting perfection from DATS or any other public works and I'm not saying I'm not grateful for their service. But I guarantee
I wouldn't put these thoughts together if I didn't feel very disrespected and fairly sure that this change will restrict my independence even more.
I'm all for compromise and respecting rules but only if they are just and make sense. We were not consulted.”

COMING TUESDAY: A Q and A with DATS director Deanna Crozier

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