Fun and games trying to arrange transport to and from work.
I can't drive, due to the effects of my condition. It would be unsafe for me and everyone on the roads and pavements anywhere I was driving.
I can't walk any significant distance. Particularly, I can't walk to useful places like my workplace in the town centre...
...or the nearest bus stop even, so I can't use the buses either. Public transport is cut off for me.
I can use a mobility scooter. What I can't do is safely use a mobility scooter in the dark/cold/wet for the 45 minutes it would take to trundle from work to home after having done four hours work.
I can use taxis. Taxi fare from this house to the town centre is about £7. Taxi fare to and from would therefore be about £14. I am on minimum wage. My four-hour day earns me £20-odd quid a day, after tax and NI that will be more like £18 or £19 a day - call it £95 a week. I am prepared to make the effort to do this working thing, but I'm not prepared to throw away 75% of my earnings just on getting there and back, working myself into agonising pain and utter exhaustion for a profit of £20 a week - and neither would you. Especially when the government will give you £80-odd a week to NOT work.
The DEA told me Access To Work would pay for my transport. But I cannot get hold of them.
I *have* got hold of the local community transport people at the council. At last.
Because I have a Blue Badge, I can use community transport, and because I can't use the buses, I can get something-or-other Tokens instead of a bus-pass.
This is where we discover that community transport isn't set up for the idea of disabled people WORKING at all. Apparently all these Tokens mean is that I get 20 trips at a cheap rate of 55p a mile.
ME: Twenty trips?
Council Lady: Yes, and then it's £1.05 a mile.
ME: So given that I work five days a week, that's two weeks transport?
CL: Yes, that's right.
Still, it's 3 miles to work, so that's £3.15 per trip, or £6.30 per day, which is still half the taxi rate and leaves me with about £12 or £13 per day profit, or £65 a week. So I'll still be worse off than I was on benefit, but not *quite* so drastically. Okay, Council Lady. How do I get on this scheme?
I have to:
- Go into the council offices that are hidden round the back of wherever.
- Wait about while they photocopy my blue badge and a couple of utility bills.
- Go away hoping desperately that they will be competent.
Then Council Lady will start a referral to the transport scheme, confirming that I am resident in the area and that I am mobility-impaired and therefore need community transport.
Then Community Transport will send me a form, which I have to fill in and send back to them, and THEN I might be able to actually arrange some damn transport. God knows how long this will take. If it wasn't for Steve still being on his study break I would be screwed. If I lived alone, couldn't wangle an occasional lift, needed to really turn a liveable-on profit... this is probably the point at which I would have given up and decided to live on benefit ad infinitum.
Your (and my) tax dollars at work, people.