Public Transport Activism
"Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble." - John Lewis
Ok. So I am nowhere near the caliber of a great Civil Rights leader. Not trying to draw some crazy parallel between me and greatness, but, damn, I probably got myself in trouble again. Good trouble? I guess that waits to be seen.
The transportation company has cut their hours. No weekend rides at all and they are now turning into pumpkins at 5 pm on weekdays. Great. They may want to offer weekday, 9 to 5 service, but I don’t want a weekday 9 to 5 life.
Filing complaints and lobbying strangers
I put in a complaint to the transportation company. No joy. I started lobbying friends, family - almost went as far as asking strangers on the street, for crying out loud! Partial success. So, not to be defeated that easily, I called the Office of the Aging.
A formal complaint
I wanted to sleuth out other transportation options but finally decided “Oh, hell. Make this a formal complaint.”
So far, I am in a little trouble, right? However, being a squeaky wheel is my modus operandi. I am pretty good at being a squeaky wheel. I annoy people - usually people I think should be annoyed - but I generally don’t “jump on the bus” for the cause.
The call I got back was supportive. She agreed with me! The lack of public transportation in this area is criminal! She thought I should write a letter to the county commissioners! Here’s the name and address.
What?! No. The agency needs to run with this... but I represent the PUBLIC. The public has power. (Since when?) She insisted a letter from me would mean so much more.
Advocating for the community
So I held my nose and I jumped on the bus. I wrote the letter to the commissioners asking for relief from my transportation woes. I wrote how my life could be so much fuller with a little transportation support given my macular degeneration. I wrote how public transportation would take some of the burdens off of family and friends. I even wrote about the lady who would ride transportation to her hair appointment and the intellectually disabled man who rode to and from his job washing dishes every Saturday. I asked what they were supposed to do without Saturday transportation. Even though I am not afraid to admit, I have selfish motives, I am not the only one affected. How about them?
Since the letter just went out, I have not gotten a reply as of yet. I am half afraid of either of what I see as the two possible options. Either I will be given platitudes. Thank you for your lovely letter, yada, yada, yada. Or, I might be asked to help.
What do I say if I am put in the position of put up or shut up? Am I committed to the cause of having affordable, reliable, flexible transportation in the area? Will I put “skin in the game”?
If that time comes that I am asked, I guess I really should listen to John Lewis:
"Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."
Do you find the eye doctor's waiting room to be stressful?