Section Five: Taxis and Drivers-Going Places: A Hadley School for the Blind and Visually Impaired review

This is the last section of “Going Places.” This section talked about taxis and hiring drivers. To be honest I have rarely used these modes of transportation.

When it comes to taking a taxi, I usually use them as part of paratransit. Just like the course said there are many advantages and disadvantages to using a taxi. When I think of the disadvantages several come to mine. Such as the smell and the cleanliness of the taxi, and the cost. When I use paratransit my fair is $3.50 each way.  Once when I had to take a taxi to work I had to pay around $40.00. Truly, the cost of using a cab can be costly.

There are some advantages to taking a taxi. Like actually being able to go somewhere. I have known of some people who live in cities that do not have taxi services. I feel lucky to have this service.

When it comes to hiring a driver, I have never done this before. I am glad the course mentioned it.

The second section the course talked about was about how to gather information about taxis. This information is pretty easy to find. When I have to look up a phone number I either find it using the internet or the old-fashioned phone book. When it comes to hiring a driver it is up to the person who is visually impaired. You have to decide on several different things such as how many hours you need the driver, amount of pay, how many places you need to go, and the type of driving record and car you are looking for. The course offered tips on how to write an advertisement and where you can post the advertisement to find a driver. Of course, safety is always important.

The third section talked about hiring the driver and what to do if you have to terminate the contract that you have between you and your driver. The course recommended that you keep a list of what you are looking for when you are interviewing different candidates. Once you have hired someone be sure to keep a record of their performance.  That way if you do have to terminate someone you have a clear record of why you are terminating their services. The course recommended to always stay professional even if you end up hiring a friend or family member to be your hired driver.

The fourth section taught me a lot about what the course called the Bartering system. This is basically exchanging goods or services for rides instead of money. I already use the bartering system somewhat. When a friend takes me out for a day of shopping, I often offer to buy them lunch in return for the rides around town.  Of course, you can offer other things such as house cleaning and pet sitting.  😊

The fifth and final section was on trip planning. Again, this felt like a review to me. Some tips that I learned was to study your route in advance, so that way if you are paying cash you are not cheated on mileage, carry a cell phone with you, make sure a friend or family member knows about your trip,  and lastly never be a chatter box and give out  your personal information to someone  you just hired or if you decide to take a taxi.

Section four: Public Transit and Paratransit-Going Places: A Hadley School for the Blind and Visually Impaired review

This lesson was on public transit and paratransit and it gave me feelings of anger. That is because I know how limited paratransit can be in my local area. Using my local paratransit makes me feel trapped.

There were four sections in this lesson. The first one was about the advantages and disadvantages of both public transit, which can include buses, subways, trains, etc. and Paratransit. When it comes to public transit, I have only taken the bus twice.  The first time was for Orientation and Mobility training. I was really nervous when I took the bus that day. It was nice to have a lesson on it though. The second time I took it was when I took it with my best friend to get back to her dorm when we had a sleep over. I felt that the second time was much better because my friend knew the bus route very well. I felt confident in her travel skills. Because the nearest bus stop is too far away from my home, I have to use paratransit. I really wish our public bus system was closer. I would travel more and I think I would feel more confident with my travel skills.

For most of my travel I use paratransit or I get rides from family and friends. When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages the disadvantages of using my local paratransit outweigh the advantages. One of the main disadvantages is the paratransit is either very late, up to 30 minutes to an hour or more or sometimes they forget you all together. I have lost count of how many times I have missed events or appointments due to the lack of quality of service in my area.  I agree with the course that sometimes you can get bad feedback because you use a service that is for those who have disabilities. I personally have had feedback both positive and negative from people in our community.

Even though this is a problem there are some advantages of paratransit I like. For example, I only have to pay $7.00 for a trip. I like the fact that they come right to your door and drop you off at your location. I agree with the course when it says that some of the paratransit companies have trained their drivers to help people who have disabilities. I have had some very helpful drivers.

The second section was on finding sources of information. I felt that this section was more like a review for me. I found out more information about the bus and paratransit system when my family and I attended a local community fair. I also heard about the bus and paratransit from my Division of Blind Services Caseworker. There are many resources such as websites, and community organizations that can possibly help you with information when it comes to learning about your local public transit or paratransit in your area.  Be sure to check it out.

The third section also felt like a review. It covered a basic knowledge of how to plan your trip. One thing that I did not know before this lesson was when taking the bus, plan your route backwards to achieve being at your destination on time.

The last section was on travel tips and this section helped me immensely. I learned there are a variety of ways that you can file a complaint. I personally would like to start using these tips and I want our paratransit system to improve it’s service.

Job search and 2nd paratransit trip

Hi Blog world,

I know. I know I haven’t been blogging. I know that I shouldn’t be making excuses as to why I’m not blogging, but I guess it’s just that I’ve been lazy and I’m not really sure what to blog about, but now that has changed.  Now before I just telling you about my week I feel like I have to back up to the past few months to help fill in the gaps so that way no one gets lost. First, I’ve been working with a job coach to help me find a job in the community.  She has been a great help when it comes to getting ideas and finding job leads. My first job interview was in June with a local law firm.  The job was  a writing position, and even though I thought I did well during the interview, I didn’t get the job.  But that’s okay I just keep looking and applying. This time, the job I interviewed for was for a receptionist/office assistant. Now it’s just waiting and finding out how I did. In the meantime, I’m writing.

Also in June my future God Mother and I went to the local public library, during that time I worked on my fifty questions to think about, and some other writing that I have been working on. I hope to have to project completed soon but we will see in time if I ever get it done…. Anyway, today I took the public ADA transportation for the second time.  If you haven’t read about my first trip please feel free to read about it here:

This trip went better than the first. The transportation picked me up at time.  I was able to enjoy the time I spent at the library: I looked at magazines, since I want to freelance some of my articles, I looked at some of the books that were on sell, found a book about Norway, and I even asked about volunteering. What I was worried about the most was being picked up on time, but while I was waiting, I saw two friends that I knew. It was nice running into them today while I was waiting.  All in all, my fears were calmed because I was able to call the transportation and make sure the van was coming on time. It was and I was relieved that it came on time.

It was really a great day! 🙂

Blog  soon,

Amanda Gene

My First Bus Trip

Hi Blog world,

Well, this week has been a very productive week.

During the beginning of this week I went to my first,  “Jobs club round-table and pot-luck dinner” The dinner consisted of macaroni and cheese, fruit, mashed potatoes, green beans, cupcakes and tea. One lesson was on the retail business. During that meeting, I also learned of the different kinds of technology and training I could receive. There is also an online school that I can get into.  But I think the most important information I got  was names of two people who work at our local paper. I am thinking about giving them a call. With that being said I think it was a great meeting and I got a lot of information.

But my week wasn’t over yet, because I met one of my goals. I used the public transportation for the first time outside of school and white cane training. I made my reservation for my trip the week before and my days leading up to my trip I was nervous, however I was even more nervous as the time came closer for my trip pick up time. The van came and picked me up right on time and the ride over was smooth despite the overcast weather.  When I arrived at the store the time thing I did was look at the dollar section. I found some things I wanted to pick up as soon as I got a cart.  After that I went to the shampoo and the one dollar health care aisle.  I looked at my cell phone to check the time and since it was getting close to lunch time I went to the cafe’ and ordered chicken tenders; my chicken tenders were hot and it burned my fingers. Because I was still nervous I only ate three of my four tenders.

After I finished my lunch I got my cart and went back to the one dollar section. I got candy and computer wipes.  Then I went to the health section and I got some shampoo and body wash.  There was also a one dollar health section so I went there to look for some soap that I wanted, however, they didn’t have want I wanted.  I also went to the face care section and once again they did not have the product that I was looking for.

The Easter section caught my eye and I went over there looking for Twizzlers candy.  I had to ask a sale associate for help as to where that type of candy was located.  Once I found the candy it took me like twenty to thirty minutes to decide what flavor I wanted. Since it was going to be a gift for my future God-Mother I wanted to get the right kind.  After much debate I got strawberry flavor.

The electronics department was next on my list since I needed some headphones.  While I was looking for the headphones  I saw iPad and since I am thinking about getting one I went up to an employer and talked to them about the benefits and disadvantages of having one.  After our conversation he was able to help me find the headphones. I got black ones.

I went to the books and movies next. I really want to see the movies, “Brave” and “Frozen” cough, cough God-Mother.

Then I went to the baby section and they really have some cute clothes, I really not sure what to buy for my new niece. If anyone has any ideas please post below in the comments section.   The music section was right across from the baby section and by this time my feet were killing me! I just kept telling myself that this was my first trip and I could make it. I went to the little kids toys and I saw the most cutest little lab dog ever! I didn’t get him right away because I went to look at the bedding and then back to the health section  and back to the electronics. Then I went to the food section which was a bad idea because I was getting hungry.  Then I went back to the Easter stuff to look at the toys again. Is your head spinning yet? Anyway, I ended up getting the dog, checked out and then I got an ice coffee. I enjoyed my coffee and people watching.

Then waiting for the bus began. I went outside to wait for the bus. I waited and waited and waited  until I stared to get rained on. So I called my grandpa to let him know the bus was late. We agreed that if the bus wasn’t there in half an hour he would come and pick me up. At this point, people started coming up to me asking if I was okay and if I was ever going to be picked up.  All I could do was thank them for their concern and wait.  Thirty minutes later the bus still wasn’t there. So I called my grandpa and he said to go back inside and get something to eat while he was on his way and to call him if the bus did show up. I went back into the store and got popcorn I heard more people with concern in there voice because I had been there for so long. All I could do was continue what I was doing thank them and wait.

As soon as I got my popcorn and started talking to the man who talked to me in the electronics department the bus showed up. The ride home was uneventful.  All in all I had a great day.

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene

Learning about Public Transportation

Hi Blog world,

On Friday, My teacher and I started learning our last unit which is on Public Transportation.  We went to the local bus station and got a map of routes and looked at them. Then we watched the buses pull in and out of the gates. I also learned about the time schedule of the buses, and that there are two different waiting areas for people to wait for the buses. We also reviewed what a bus sign looks like. Ours is blue with a picture of a cat on it.  I am excited about learning these lessons and I am nervous too because I never used public transportation before except for the school bus, a train ride and an airplane ride. During this unit I will also learn about how to use a taxi, how to make pick up appointments, drop offs, and other modes of transportation besides the local bus.

After this unit is completed, my case worker has decided that I will be able to graduate from the training program in February.  This means lots of hard work for my teacher and I but we are up to the challenge! I am so excited for the months ahead!

Blog soon,

Amanda Gene