13 May 2011

What Are They Thinking?

Thane and I travel our tri-county area using fixed route bus and max primarily because it gives me the independence and ease of leaving the vehicles should I get flared by my MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities). By using fixed route, we can also decide to do things spur of the moment or weather dependent.

During nice weather, max can be problematic. There is no one in the cars themselves to police individuals who take it upon themselves to take their pet Fido along. Though some of these dogs are well behaved most are far from that. Pets and dogs trained solely in tasks forgetting about temperament and foundation training, makes our ease of uninterfered work and access tenuous at best. The truth is that at least three-quarters of the dogs we encounter on max are not service animals nor service animals in training. Their owners bring them on using flexi leads that they do not lock at a 6 foot or less length and at the least offence, I am hampered so that I almost miss my stop. In many situations I miss my stop and encounter owners who won't get their dogs out of our way. To say this kind of thing is old is an understatement.  The bottom line is that every single one of these folks are committing fraud. The guidelines are specific that access is given to individuals with disabilities accompanied by service dogs or service dogs in training.

Trimet in their infinite wisdom is waiting on the Department of Transportation to determine if and when they will implement the new ADA changes, but regardless of this, the situations I note above still do not qualify for this access.

It gets better (read sarcasm here). Trimet once again has decided that my life is not difficult enough dealing with the untrained dogs I have to deal with anytime someone decides to take their pet for a ride. For at least the second year, Trimet has opened up the max line to those individuals with pets participating in the Doggy Dash. Now granted, Doggy Dash may be for a good cause but the truth of the matter is here that they could not police these people so they joined them. They have made it quite clear that individuals with disabilities partnered with service animals are their last concern. You would think after the toy breed dogs death on a bus a few years ago that they would get just how quickly an incident can happen.

There are guidelines for those travelling but I definitely DO NOT like them nor do I think they are defined well enough or strict enough. They must use the second car of the train. Individuals in wheelchairs can only use one car on the older trains and more times than not, you got it, it is the second car. They state nothing about them having to wait for the next train if there are service animals aboard something that I feel should be stated. They say they must be leashed but give me a break to the general public a leash is a flexi lead that the dog can easily interfere with a working dogs job. They say that either a muzzle or head halter must be used. Now do you really think everyone is going to muzzle their dog in an unpoliced max car? Give me a break already! There is minimal time as it is for the disabled to de-board when the pet dogs we encounter now are there interfering with us often making us miss our stop and Trimet is now inviting these folks to add fuel to the fire!  What makes it even worse is the day its happening is the last good weather day here for at least a week maybe longer unless the forecast changes and YES we had plans that require the use of max. Now I am really debating the pros and cons here tonight for this trip.

Trimet says they must be completed with their trip by 2PM but I saw it last year and I will see it again this year, following the completion of Doggy Dash there is ALWAYS a big upswing in those taking Fido on the max for as long as they get away with it.  Where are the ticket checkers policing the cars when you most need them?

I wrote to Trimet this time. After an incident that happened today on the max, I was not going to keep quiet about their lack of concern for the safety of passengers with disabilities partnered with service animals. Today Thane and I were riding max. An individual boarded with Fido on a flexi lead. I did not know it at the time. She sat in disabled seating. When it came time for us to de It was most definitely a pet. And to think that Trimet is openly inviting this sort of travel by owners of pet dogs, putting our safety at risk and as a result violating our rights as people with disabilities partnered with service animals for safe travel as we need it- not around their stupidity. They think all these pet owners are going to leave Fido at home when the Doggy Dash has concluded- think again! This is INSANE!

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