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This transport thing isn't working out very well :(

As mentioned in another thread, I’ve got the doctor’s tomorrow. I don’t drive, and am starting to struggle a bit with public transport, especially now the direct bus has been taken off, and it’s a walk AND a bus.

So I recently signed up for a local subsidised transport scheme.

It’s only the second time I’ve ever used it (first time went well), but this time they are saying they won’t know 'til after half-past-three whether or not I’ve got a driver for tomorrow morning. That leaves me s*d all chance to make other arrangements, if it comes back “NO”, and I will have to walk & get the bus anyway, which is the whole thing I’m trying to avoid. I don’t think still not knowing if you’re covered, by the afternoon before, is very good. I’m starting to stress.

Tina

Hi Tina, what a worry for you!

A few months ago, I registered with the Access Bus.

When I said where i live, I was told there was a pick up on one morning a week…early ie before my carer comes, then one afternoon until tea time.

Neither suited, so i havent bothered with it.

As you`ve exhausted all other methods of getting to where you need to be, I dunno what to say!

luv Pollx

Hi Poll, I didn’t have a good feeling about this one from the start. You know when you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you get the impression the person on the other end of the phone is a bit ditzy. They don’t inspire confidence, and you think: “Hmmm, bet that hasn’t gone in the book OK.” Not reassuring that she asked my name at least two or three times during the brief call, even though my name is as straightforward as you can get - nothing at all foreign or difficult. She still didn’t seem confident with it. And she didn’t verify that she had correct contact details for me, which is pretty important if you’re trying to fix up transport for someone. How are you going to let them know the outcome, or dispatch the driver to the right address. So, when I called today, I got the impression I was right, and I HAD slipped through the net. Looked like there was some record of my request in the book - for which I was thankful - but it seemed no action had been taken to try to fulfil it. There sounded like frantic faffing around in the background, as they realised their oversight. I know the work rosters for the next day are assigned by midday - they’ve told me so before. So obviously, if I rang at 2:00, and my job wasn’t already on it, they hadn’t allocated me any transport. :frowning: T. x

Hi both,

it fills me with dread not being able to get around. It sounds such a nightmare. I wonder how many people do use these services as they seem so limiting.

Love Sara x

Hi Sara, I’m quite mobile, still. I just find I haven’t as much stamina for waiting in the cold at bus-stops, plus the buses are not always very reliable, and I get stressed worrying I’m going to miss the appointment. Securing an appointment in the first place is a bit of an ordeal these days, so then I panic if I think I might lose it, and end up on the “naughty list” of people who didn’t turn up. T. x

I hate being late! I always leave a huge amount of just in case time, this has saved me a few times!!

Sara x

Phew! Nick of time!

Ten minutes before they close, and I was just about to ring and say: “I obviously haven’t got anyone, then?”, when they called to say they found someone, and it’s the same bloke I had before - living just a couple of streets from me.

It’s absolutely no good for the nerves, though, being left in suspense 'til the evening before you’re supposed to be going.

I’m having my blood pressure done tomorrow, too, so what’s the betting it’s going to be up (again!)?

It will make a big difference, though, because if I’m walking & going by bus, I’d probably need to leave a whole hour earlier - nine o’clock instead of ten o’clock. As it takes me over two hours to bath, have coffee, and pop the pills, before feeling human enough to leave the house, a 9 a.m. departure would have meant getting up at 6:30. Really should be no cause for that, for a routine doctor’s visit.

T.

x

Hi Tina, Any chance you can chat with this bloke who is doing the job because he seemed like he was a bit of a star before? Maybe he will do it as a private arrangement where you can call him direct in the future? Is that even possible? Probably not but worth a conversation maybe?

Hope appointment goes well x

Hi might do it privately, but it does work out more expensive to me, because if I book it through the scheme, it’s council subsidised, whereas if I strike a private arrangement, I have to reimburse him the full mileage - though I don’t think he seeks to make a profit on it.

So there’s always a catch, isn’t there? Yes, he seems a good bloke, who would probably agree to do it privately. It would still be cheaper than a taxi (I believe ours are among the dearest in Britain). But I would get no contribution from the council, instead of a small contribution.

It’s just started peeing down, here, so I could have faced a really unpleasant morning tomorrow, if it was the old walk-and-bus routine. Relieved I’m getting a ride.

Tina

x

have you spoken to your GP surgery? If there is another way of organising transport to a doctor’s appointment, they’ll probably know.

There are voluntary organisations which may be able to help - I don’t know any in our bit of Bristol/South Gloucestershire.

I found this, which links volunteers to organisations. Which isn’t quite what we’re lookikng for, but they may be able to help find someone helpful.

Hi Ellen,

It is a voluntary organisation I’m using.

Four Towns. The idea is great, but they’re not very efficient in practice, and no matter how far ahead you request it, they don’t seem to try to find your transport until the day before, and you’re left not knowing whether you’re going to be lucky. Apparently, I only got it this time, because somebody else had cancelled.

I think they’re dependant on just two volunteer drivers, so if neither is available, you’re stuffed.

Tina

If you are reasonably mobile a bike might be a good solution to those local transport difficulties and provide some useful non weight bearing exercise too. I appreciate that dodgy balance can be an issue, but a trike would get around that problem.

Just a thought.

Hi Anita,

I vaguely remember you saying ages ago that you wouldn’t apply for DLA because you’d made provision for yourself (please forgive me if I’ve mixed you up with someone else) and therefore didn’t need it.

Perhaps now you might reconsider applying for at least the mobility component of it which would pay for your taxis to appointments etc?

Lots of very useful advice on the http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk website.

Good luck

Hi Whammel & Anu,

Apoologies for being lazy & merging the responses!

Wahmmel, it’s a reasonable thought, but I’ve never, EVER ridden a bike, and I don’t think 47, with MS, is the right time for me to start. Plus it would be suicidal, for a beginner, round here.

Anu - the only reason I haven’t applied for DLA is not because I’ve “made my own provision” (on the contrary, I have no income whatsoever, and am living on redundancy + lifelong savings). I just know it’s not worth applying, because it’s obvious there is no chance at all of qualifying for any of it. I can walk three miles, and it’s in my notes I can. Of course, merely being ABLE to doesn’t mean it’s a realistic option every time I need the hospital or doctor. But I think as far as any benefits are concerned, it’s going to be clear the only thing limiting my mobility is that I don’t have a car or a driving licence. They’re not going to pay out on account of that, are they? I’m sure I’d score “nul points” for care, as well. I’m not in the business of wasting my efforts applying for things it’s clear from the start I won’t get. If I thought it was a borderline case, or even maybe even a 30% chance I might get it, I’d get claiming. But short of blatantly lying (I don’t just mean “worst day” scenario), I don’t see any chance at all (and even less of PIP).

The irony is that by the time I’m ill enough to be in with a chance, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to cope with the forms anyway, so I still won’t get it.

Tina

x

Hi Tina, I did think about advising you to apply for the mobility component of DLA, but then remembered you saying how you take a decent daily walk. So that would mean you wouldnt qualify.

I know you`ve always done your best to save and be careful with your finances.

But as you are well under the state pension age, that money is going to have to last you quite a while, eh?

luv Pollx

Poll,

Yes to all the above! It’s no secret that I walk a long way, and quite often, so as I say, short of blatantly lying… Which I wouldn’t anyway, but if I did, I’d have to quit the walking, in case anyone was watching. I don’t want to lie and live in fear.

I’m a long way from destitution yet, but yes, it’s a long way to pension age (and I haven’t worked enough years for the full state pension). So every taxi-ride is borrowing from tomorrow’s food. Although I can walk a long way, I can’t walk everywhere - especially in bad weather - and I can’t justify a taxi every time either. So it’s either public transport, which is increasingly scarce and unreliable, or some sort of community scheme, like the one I’m already using.

On the plus side, they haven’t let me down YET, but it’s not ideal not knowing 'til the last minute whether you are sorted or not. Even taxis are not easy to come by, at certain times of day, if you leave it 'til the night before to say you want one!

Also I wasn’t so keen on the driver this time - although it’s the same chap. Got a bit of an inquisition today, about MS, and was I sure it wasn’t psychological? I’m sure this stems from the fact I can obviously walk! I think he thinks I’m not a deserving user of the service.

Tina

x

The damned cheek of that driver to quizz you about MS and as for outright asking if its psychological.............im fuming on your behalf!!!

How dare he?

luv Pollx

Tina,

Please don’t be put off using the community transport scheme. The driver however pleasant he is, is obviously ignorant about most things MS. I f i were you i would just say politely (which you would probably pull off better then me!) I don’t really want to talk about it. If like you say despite it’s fundemental flaw it’s better than taxis or buses then keep using it.

He can think what he likes, does not mean it’s true!

Laura x

Well, I don’t (usually!) mind people asking me about MS - if we get an opening to explain a bit more about it, there’ll be a bit less ignorance in the world, won’t there?

But yes, I think the suggestion it was psychological WAS a damn cheek! He asked what I was going to do on getting back from the doctor, and I’d made the mistake of saying: “Well, I’m not sure really, as I expect I’ll be tired”.

This was when he suggested it might all be psychological, and couldn’t I ignore the tiredness if I wanted?

T.

x

Wouldn’t that be good!

I would say if this is his attitude, no amount of talking about it will change his way of thinking. Let him drive you around, don’t take anything he says to heart and if he tries to offer you medical advice, ask him where he got his doctorate! x