Monday, March 16, 2009

Nobody knows what's going on...

Being one who cannot walk or drive or use public transport, I sometimes make use of the local Community Taxi scheme. This is administered on behalf of the local council by a local football club whose premises are also used for all sorts of "community ventures". A journey by community taxi isn't as cheap as a bus, is only available during daytime hours, and you have to book a couple of days in advance, BUT it's door-to-door, it's guaranteed accessible and it's about half the price of a normal taxi, so swings and roundabouts. Generally, for unplanned things I need to use a normal taxi, but for planned things like say a dental appointment I use the community taxi. So far so good.

In February I got a letter from the football club telling me that the Service Level Agreement with the local council would expire at the end of March and that the council had decided it would not be renewed. The letter told me that the council would instead be issuing "taxi tokens" for people who could not make use of a bus pass.

Today is March 16th so there are 15 days left until the change from community taxi to taxi tokens. I still hadn't heard anything from the council, but we know that some of our post is *cough* going missing *cough* so I thought I'd phone the council to make sure I hadn't missed the letter and ask things like "what are taxi tokens?" and "when can I have some?"

The chap on the phone said they don't know what's happening yet. He said they were hoping a decision would be made within the next two weeks and that then people using the community taxi scheme would be written to and informed of what was going to happen. I don't know how long it will then take to physically distribute these "tokens" or where/how they might be redeemable.

So basically, having tossed the old system, which wasn't perfect but helped a lot of people, they hope they'll have decided what new system they want to use before the old system expires.

All of this makes me even happier to be able to report that it shouldn't bother me too much, because I now have a PA to take me places. She starts this week. A big round of applause for P at the Rowan Organisation who has very competently and patiently guided me through the entire process of getting Direct Payments and becoming an employer and hiring a PA, from advertising to insurance to contracts and everything else that goes with it. It's an awful lot to try and understand, especially with my brainfog on, but P has always been able to answer my questions and explain things clearly, thoroughly, and (this is important) without making me feel like a moron.

Regrettably the local council's SLA with the Rowan is also expiring at the end of March, so I'm losing the marvellously competent, efficient and trustworthy P, and in much the same way as no one can tell me about these taxi tokens, I still don't know who I'm getting transferred to instead to steer me through my first months as an employer.

I fear April may be Interesting.


DD said...

Our local council has decided that when you go to renew a NOW pass you may no longer use the door that is nearest to the bus stops and parking bays, but you must walk around the building and use the door on the other side. It's quite a hike, and there are some steps, and it's no nearer the place you go for the pass.

Good luck, Mary.

Mary said...

With stuff like that I always wonder, is it part of the test? You know, like when participants in psych experiments are invited into a room with an unusually large mirror on one wall and asked to "just wait here while we set the experiment up in the next room".

Anonymous said...

At my local (newly built) hospital, the point very furthest from the front entrance is where some rocket-scientist decided it would be appropriate to place the amputee clinic!
So, whether you arrive by car, bus, taxi or ambulance, it makes no difference - you must still, walk, hobble, crutch or wheel yourself past a bunch of other clinics such as the 'auditory and hearing loss outpatients' - the 'optical assessment clinic' and the 'learning disability laboratory' - now, I will admit that *some* of those patients may have walking difficulties, but I can *guarantee* that every single patient going to the amputee clinic would appreciate it being a lot closer to the only entrance!

How they missed something that elementary in the planning stages of the new build is quite beyond me.