The world didn’t come to a crashing halt for most people last weekend because the TTC was on strike.
That close to 40,000 people found a way to get downtown on Saturday afternoon for either the Raptors game or Toronto FC’s match against Kansas City suggests many can find alternate means of transportation on a moment’s notice.
But that’s not necessarily the case if you get around town in an electric wheelchair.
People like me can’t exactly carpool, bike or hop in any taxi they see on the street when there’s no TTC service.
I require Wheel-Trans, and those vehicles aren’t so easy to come by at any hour of the day without advance notice.
When I saw the breaking news that a strike would take effect midnight Friday, I was well aware that I wouldn’t be playing in my electric wheelchair hockey championship game Saturday afternoon.
While I live close enough to wheel to the school where we play in about 40 minutes, there was no way other players could get there without Wheel-Trans.
Just what choices do people in wheelchairs have?
One summer Saturday night several years ago, a friend and I missed a Wheel-Trans ride home after watching a flick at the Scotiabank Theatre. It was after 1 am.
TTC buses on the road after 1:30 am are not wheelchair-accessible. And every taxi company in the GTA we called that had wheelchair-accessible vans told us their drivers had gone home for the night.
We were at a loss as to what to do next. We hung around the theatre until it closed its doors at 4 am.
We got lucky. Theatre management put us up in a nearby hotel for the night. We were safe.
An inconvenienced public now wants to see the TTC declared an essential service. I’m hesitant to agree, but as a world-class city, the very least that Toronto must do is assign that designation to Wheel-Trans.