Access Calgary

The scene of my constant humiliation, Access Calgary where I go to be defined by my disability.
Eighteen months ago I had a devastating life event affecting my mobility. After 6 months in hospital, I moved into my home, fully dependant on these characters in cabs to move me to outpatient facilities and for essentials like groceries.
Excuse me I need to stop, here at this Starbucks, I need to use the washroom.
No.
We don’t stop.
Not even for basic human needs.
I asked the guy in the wheelchair, what do you do? Piss yourself and sit in it, they don’t give a fuck he says.
So right away I get the message, this is for the cab company’s convenience, not mine. On time and fuck you.
I used to manage the dispatch for this cab company. I bailed and went to art school, glad to be away from this harsh draconian conservative regime. After I graduated, I trained special needs bus drivers for a fleet with 2000 vehicles as a day gig. First thing I told the drivers, don’t treat them like they are broken, just drive safe and be pleasant, give them a comfortable ride like you would for anybody.
So, when I get in the Access car, the driver starts doing my seatbelt, and won’t take no for an answer. Faster this way he says. Never mind that his body rubs against my genitals, if I had breasts, well I don’t know what they do.
Put up with being felt up by the driver. It’s not like you have a choice.
There is a monopoly in place and they are fighting to maintain the 300 bucks a day per driver (his share).
The attitude is friendly and helpful with the part-time relief guys, but the regular drivers, forget it. They hate the job, and they hate you. They live in fear of being fired.
If you assert your rights you are being difficult. Every trip is an arguement or passive aggressive silences, watched by video cameras, every trip. Orwell was right.
I’m waiting alone at my building, the driver comes to the lobby, and demands, What’s your name!
My name is Jerald.
What’s your last name!
OK are you here for Jerald? I’m the only one here named Jerald who is waiting for Access.
If you don’t tell me your last name you are not getting in the car! The Access Nazi, no ride for you.
I chose to stay home, called Access and told them what happened.
The next day, the same driver was sent again, same scene over again.
Access apologised again, and put on my file don’t ask his last name, like I am the problem, I am difficult.
After a successful career spanning 40 years in transportation, of special needs folks, I’m the problem.
I called the cab company, talked to the dispatcher, a deeply stupid gent who has been doing a bad job there since I left. Jerry, (they call me Jerry) he was just following orders, you want I should fire him for following orders? No fire the insane individual who gave him the orders then threatened his job if he didn’t comply, was my thought, but I said, uh, this is your policy isn’t it. Yes, he said proudly.
This would be so simple to fix.
Call a cab, Uber, whatever.
Go where you want when you want.
Give them your access card. Process it.
Get out of the cab.
Duh, is that so hard?
Bad weather, call and book a reservation. Access goes to the head of the list. These people have computer dispatch, I know I helped build it. They can do this.
Well only certain drivers have Access training, you say? Ya from now on if your company wants Access trips, all drivers have Access training, it’s called career development.
Sorry about your monopoly but it sure wasn’t in my best interests, was it?

jeraldblackstock.ca

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