The Regional Transit Board (RTB) has come up with a new fare proposal for the Metro Mobility program. The new fare structure shouldn’t satisfy the Minnesota Human Rights Department’s charge of discrimination.
Under the proposal, most users of the Metro Mobility program probably will see an increase in the fare they are charged. The typical sheltered workshop employee who is traveling only a few miles to and from work has seen their transportation cost go from $2.00 a day in June to $4.00 a day in July and now if the new fares go into effect to $4.20 a day. This may not seem like much, but if you are only making seventy cents an hour it is a big deal. And how about the person on Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) getting $407.00 per month, to cover rent, food, utilities, clothes, personal items and transportation? I think the point is well taken, but evidently the RTB, the Governor and our legislators don’t get it.
Most people who ride the Metro Mobility system have no other transportation option and have had to cut back the number of rides they make because of the cost. Some have quit their jobs or stopped volunteering since the July increase. What a waste! It may be the best we can do now is to fight for some kind of discounted riders card similar to the main line “10 ride” or “all you can ride” cards, until the legislature meets again.
The only reasonable approach is to go back to the legislature and ask for full funding of the Metro Mobility program in 1992. The original idea of Metro Mobility was to serve people with disabilities. No one expected the riders to pay for this service any more than main line riders are expected to pay for their service. You can help by letting the RTB and the legislature know how you feel.
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Health Care continues to be a very important issue for us and ACCESS PRESS is going try to keep you informed on this issue. This month we have the HMO’s proposal. Next month we hope to bring you a more complete explanation of a single payor system and the Minnesota Medical Association’s views on universal health care.
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Senator Paul Wellstone took time out of his busy schedule to meet with ACCESS PRESS. The resulting interview is on page 7 of this issue and I hope you will take time to read it. I am also hoping that one of these days all of our representatives in Washington will be this straightforward about the issues.
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ACCESS PRESS is still waiting to hear from you. Do you agree with everything we say? If you have any news for us or would like to challenge our commentators, write or call at 379-0989. We do want to hear your comments or suggestions on how we can improve.