Two weeks ago I went on vacation to Hollywood. As I did not know my way around town, I used a lot of cabs to assist me in getting from point A to point B. Throughout the weekend I couldn't help but notice that all of the cab drivers kept asking me if I had money for the ride. Two wanted the cash up front, one even asked for a large deposit. I had ridden in cabs by myself extensively in three other metropolitan areas in California plus in Mexico and had never been asked if I had the money for my trip before. Even in downtown LA, where I was before I traveled to Hollywood, the cab drivers didn't assume I was looking for charity ride.
However, my annoyance with the cab drivers pales in comparison with my annoyance at the lack of taxi related transport options available to persons, with disabilities in Santa Barbara. All over this town, one sees people using wheelchairs, scooters, canes and other mobility devices. However, none of the taxi companies have vehicles equipped to handle these passengers.
This lack of accessible taxis causes people with mobility devices to rely on the bus system. However, our transit system doesn’t go to all neighborhoods in Santa Barbara. . There are many areas such as Cathedral Oaks, the Riviera and the Fairview area in Goleta where bus aces access is limited. If your using a a wheelchair, or scooter , you either need an accessible van or take Easy Lift, Santa Barbara's Para-Transit provider.
Easy Lift is a great option for accessible transit and is legally required to give passengers rides with only a day notice. However, because of high demand and limited funding you often have to book your ride a week in advance. This is a problem if you are a spontaneous type of person, Easy Lift isn't an option for people who decide to go to their friend’s BBQ in Cathedral Oaks or who lose track of time while watching a concert downtown.
Taxis late at night provide safety and convenience for many people, yet their benefits are not accessible to a large segment of the population. The Americans with Disabilities Act that provides legal requirements for making public and Para transit programs accessible does not require that taxi companies have accessible cabs in their fleet. However, citizens and tourists could advocate for accessible taxis on economic terms. I believe that if a Santa Barbara company brought two or three accessible taxis, they would see an enormous rise in business.
If anybody wants to get involved in the movement for accessible cabs in Santa Barbara as well as trying to have the waiting time for Easy Lift reduced please contact me at Jlesner@ilrc-trico.org
It's time for our annual poinsettia sale! Poinsettias are just $10 each with free delivery from Goleta to Carp. They come in red, white, pink, and burgundy. …Continue
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