Transit offers disabled riders a ticket to independence
My adult stepson, Andrew Herran (pictured) has an intellectual disability, and if it weren’t for public transportation he wouldn’t be able to get around on his own. Andrew lives at The Village of Merici in Lawrence, and he takes two buses to work in Fishers every Monday.
The trip lasts almost two hours—if everything’s running on time. The Open Door shuttle picks up Andrew and takes him to Castleton Square mall, where he gets on Hamilton County Express for the last few miles. It’s also expensive—$3 for Open Door and $5 for HCE. So the first hour of his job, he’s paying for transportation to work. And his shift only lasts four hours. Luckily, he gets a ride home from one of his service providers.
If Andrew worked in Marion County, he wouldn’t have to change buses or pay two fares. That’s one of the reasons he is in the process of looking for another job. He’d also like to work more hours.
Open Door is an arm of IndyGo that serves the disabled. You have to call three days before you need it, but it will pick you up at your door and take you to your destination. Andrew has used it to get to an Indians game or bowling tournament—but only daytime events since it doesn’t operate at night.
Transportation is a real challenge for Andrew and others with disabilities, including his neighbors at the Village. That’s the biggest problem they have as a group. If they want to do any kind of activity—even just to contribute to society by working—they need a way to get there.
– Patrick Gallagher, Stepfather