New app ‘doesn’t change anything’, says Para Transpo rider
If Kyle Humphrey wants to go out for an impromptu beer after work with his co-workers, he can’t.
It’s the same story if he gets invited to a last-minute Ottawa Senators game, or if his friends are doing social projects that day — and a new Para Transpo app, he says, won’t change that. nothing.
“It makes me feel so left out,” said Humphrey, a wheelchair user and member of Para Parity, which has been looking for ways to improve shared transit service.
“[The app] does not change the service itself.”
Last week, OC Transpo launched the new “My Para Transpo” app, after users waited two years for updates.
It promises to “make it easier for customers to book travel online” according to the press release. Com. Allan Hubley, chairman of the city’s transit commission, tweeted Friday that it would provide “the convenience of self-service when booking, canceling or tracking rides.”
Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of My Para Transpo! Developed in collaboration with Para Transpo customers, this new online app offers the convenience of self-service when booking, canceling or tracking rides. Learn more: https://t.co/EWhqyk06p7 photo .twitter.com/2HF7HFM8ea
Mayor Jim Watson called it “an important step in providing convenient access to Para Transpo services for customers.”
I am thrilled to announce an important milestone in providing convenient access to Para Transpo services for customers. “My Para Transpo” is a self-service online application that helps customers book, cancel or track rides and manage their profile. https://t.co/5oqq2672jM pic.twitter.com/SOAtJVYVlG
Before the upgrades, Para Transpo users had to wait up to an hour on the phone to book rides, and they never knew exactly when their shared bus would arrive.
Now they should be able to book a ride online, from different platforms, and track their buses in real time.
While the app offers some improvements, Humphrey said it’s disappointing that there’s still no ability to book same-day trips. There was also no announcement to extend service availability beyond the 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. window, it added.
“At the moment, you can only book according to the [estimated] pick up time. And it’s good if you know what time you want to leave,” he said.
But sometimes Para Transpo drops him off at work an hour before his shift starts or picks him up an hour after he’s ready to go home — and the app won’t fix that, he said. .
“Paratransit riders don’t have the luxury of getting off a bus and jumping into their friend’s car,” he said.
“Start treating us as equals”
“There are still some minor issues, but it’s doable,” said John Redins, disability advocate and Ottawa Transit Riders board member.
He says the latest updates included in the new app are a time saver.
“You don’t have to stand in line at 7 a.m. every morning [for] the next day.”
Redins suffers from arthritis – “some days it’s good, some days it’s just rotten” – and uses a walker to get around.
While he remains optimistic about the direction Para Transpo is taking, he echoes Humphrey’s calls for same-day reservations.
“It’s sometimes demoralizing not being able to go to an event because you have to rely on your paratransit or your bus,” he says. “Start treating us as equals.”