by Dr. Rouba Fattal
Para Transpo is a critical community service. When elected as your city representative, I will work with all residents who rely on this service to address opportunities for improvement.
As a part-time caregiver to my senior parents with medical conditions, I recently registered them for Para Transpo services. I had heard about the inconvenient booking system that Para Transpo uses with the telephone service, having up to a two hour wait time before speaking with an agent. I find this to be unacceptable.
When I learned that Para Transpo developed a web-service booking and payment system, My Para Transpo, I was able to skip that wait time. To my surprise, my experience with the website booking system was far more troublesome than I expected it to be.
The system requires users to schedule their trip a minimum of 24 hours in advance; accepts bookings between 7am and 5pm.; and, requires specific time slots to be identified. This is particularly incompatible with our healthcare system and hospital appointment protocol. Folks who require hospital visits would not know how long their procedure will be making Para Transpo scheduling virtually impossible.
One solution may be to eliminate the 7am-5pm booking window. Digital services should be flexible for users and having this window defeats the purpose of convenient online booking. This, in addition to a reduction in the 24hr advance notice period, will accommodate folks who need this service for important medical procedures.
Another troublesome policy identified with Para Transpo is that the online booking portal only allows fares to be paid for the registered users, leaving the companions to pay cash for their trip at the door of the bus – an inconvenient and unnecessary requirement. The system could easily include the option to pay for both fares when booking the registered user.
While the creation of My Para Transpo is a step in the right direction, the current system has many opportunities for improvement. This is a critical service for people afflicted with temporary or permanent disabilities. I commit to advocating for more urgency in improving how Para Transpo is delivered.
Public consultation and engagement is a priority to me and I invite you to reach out with any concerns or ideas you’d like to share. I can be contacted at info@RoubaFattal.ca