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November 28, 2017

A failure of leadership

One of life's most important lessons is to avoid personal attacks.  It's OK to say a decision is "stupid" but it's not a good idea to label those who reached the decision in the same way.  They're misinformed or misguided.

Under those rules, misguided and misinformed people at Metro Transit have made a monumentally stupid decision.

They've considered their alternative facts and decided to buy 40 paratransit buses.

Gerry Post, tireless citizen advocate, has been waging this battle for years.  So have I.  Gerry makes the compelling point that there are cheaper alternatives that give better service.  He wrote Mayor Savage:

Dear Mayor Savage,
I just received notice of a HRM tender for 40 paratransit Buses, which came as a big surprise. After all the discussion regarding an alternative para-Transit business model that:
1. Cost less;
2. Improves service for the disabled
3. Supports getting more accessible taxis on the road
4. Prepares HRM for the future conversion to Autonomous Buses; the biggest cost will be severance (estimated at $100k per driver) - must reduce the hiring of new drivers; and
5. Supports the private sector.
It seems the administration is stuck in a rut, which is costly to the citizens in both in money and service delivery. This tender will continue the status quo for many years to come, this is the time to consider the alternative business model.

After 4 years of discussing this, with broad based support within the disabled community the current tender indicates a lack of understanding and respect by the administration for the citizens it serves.

Submitted respectfully,

Gerry P

For my part, I'm more concerned that HRM is operating a separate and discriminatory service contrary to the Charter.  This decision, made in the policy vacuum so characteristic of HRM, has the effect of making second class citizens of some residents.  While the decision may have some practical considerations:
  • A deal on 40 buses
  • Idle drivers
It's up to leadership to consider the larger issues:
  • Responsibility to taxpayers
  • Service level
  • The future of transport
  • The fair treatment of all Haligonians
  • Benefits to other sectors
I'm full of questions:
  • What is it about "less expensive" that Council fails to comprehend?
  • What is it about people with disabilities that brings out the worst in others?
  • Are we begrudged the means to get to jobs? (here is a CBC article about how we are treated)
  • Shall we satisfy HRM's bias by being unemployed and supported entirely by taxpayers?
The tender is an affront to people with disabilities, who have worked tirelessly to change HRM's outlook with facts, patience and understanding. Instead we have been met with misrepresentation, condescension and indifference.

This decision has the effect of ignorance, bigotry, waste and stupidity. Those who made the decision are misguided and badly informed.  Their leaders fail to provide leadership.

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