Author Topic: Mobility With A Disability?  (Read 3334 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Mobility With A Disability?
« on: December 09, 2015, 12:26:00 AM »
Hello -

I have Cerebral Palsy, and I can't ride a bike. Accurately, I can't ride a bicycle. I could ride a tricycle, but it's entirely impractical to use one of those for anything but riding down a sedate suburb road. Even if I do ride one, my top speed isn't very road safe, and given the size of the bike, staying only in bike lanes (when they're even available) is difficult, especially with them being full of the snow that's been shoved to the side during the winter.

So, my question to my fellow Mustachians is this: How do I cut down on my transportation costs if walking everywhere is either A) inefficient* or B) not really feasible**.

I do not have a car - I take public transport. I like the public transport system for the mobility it offers, but it's also terribly inefficient at times. I live about two miles from my work (almost a straight line away, even) and to get to work only takes about fifteen minutes on the bus (versus taking me about fifty to walk that distance) but getting home is a different story. I have to take the same bus to go home as I do to get to work (obviously, it's going in the opposite direction at this point) but I live near the end of it's route. Going to work, this is great, I'm only on the bus a short while. Getting home? Takes about twice as long. I don't like soy sauce, but I have a fondness for coconut aminos. The only store I've found them at? It's about an hour away on a very circuitous bus route.

Is my only option a motorized scooter and just sucking up the lost time to the transit during the winter? I'd love to cut my monthly pass (nearly $100) down to a booklet or two of transit tickets ($20-40 for one or two books) for use in the rare lengthy journey.

* I walk fast for a person with a disability, but it's still slower than your 'average' pedestrian.

** I walk pretty 'hard' - I wear out my footwear and the rubber tips of my forearm crutches pretty quickly, even with my normal foot travel. After a year of walking, my boots (I buy work boots, my method of motion has turned brand new running shoes into garbage after only a week) are worn down - the sole is smooth in places and there's often a hole in the boot under my right big toe. I have to switch out my crutch tips about once a month, and because I invest in quality boots, I spend about $200 a year on one good pair and wear them from about November to November. If I tried to walk 100% of the time, I'd probably spend a lot more on footwear than I do on a bus pass.

Thanks for any input,



  • Stubble
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2015, 03:19:04 AM »
Is a recumbent tricycle a possibility? You can find ones that are much more narrow than an upright tricycle and have gears.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2015, 03:33:10 AM »
Can you write to the bus operator and ask them to change the route?

You may find that you are not the only one inconvenienced by the route that it takes.

Public transport is there to serve the public - just because some bureaucrat dreamt up the perfect route in his mind, doesn't mean that it is the one that will work for the people who want to use it.

Talk to some of the people who catch the bus with you... people generally go one direction going to work in the morning, and then generally go the opposite direction to get home in the evening.

It's not like that is a strange concept for a public transport operator to understand... maybe your one needs a nudge to understand that.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 03:37:47 AM by marty998 »


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2015, 03:35:07 AM »
Are you able to buy boots that can be re-soled? Is moving even closer to work an option?

Alternatively, $100 isn't too bad for a monthly bus pass. Can you get a discount for an annual pass?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 06:31:44 AM »
2 thoughts.

1.  There is a man in my town who I would guess has CP.  He rides a recumbent tricycle to work (and everywhere else).  We have no public transport, so he pretty much has to (at least I've never seen him drive).  He goes on sidewalks, not in the street.  I don't know what he does with winter snow, my guess is someone drives him.

2.  Does your transit company have options for the disabled?  Either special transport, or discounts? 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2015, 01:47:08 AM »
Hello -

Thanks for the input thus far! I'll address them as posted:

myrax -

It is a possibility, and I am looking into getting one - but they are not cheap, and seem rarely available on kijiji or craigslist. Besides, many of the recumbent communities I've poked around in during my research all seem to be in agreement that winter tricycling is difficult in even optimal conditions. While it's a very appealing option, it, as with a motorized scooter, would only be of use to me outside of the winter months.

marty998 -

It's highly unlikely. Besides, there are a myriad of routes that all end up being inefficient depending on what you're using them for - the same route that is inefficient in getting me home is very efficient in getting me -to- work.

alsoknownasDean -

This is actually something I've never looked into. I assumed - perhaps in error - that resoling my boots would likely cost something similar to the cost of new ones. I'll shop around, because it might make my costs go down in the long run if it is cheaper, but it doesn't exactly solve the larger issue of convenient mobility. Even if I could shave the 'operating budget' of extra walking, the general inconvenience of public transit still hinders me - I spend more time waiting for buses than I do riding them, sometimes. But with speed limitations, it's just not feasible to traverse my city on foot.

Currently, there are no discounted passes for anyone that is not either a senior citizen or enrolled in a disability program that I am not part of. I could seek to become part of it, but the program is designed for severely disabled individuals (it's even in the acronym) which I do not claim - nor, truthfully, wish to claim - to be. I do think this is rather stupid on the part of the transit authority - why adults cannot get annual passes or some form of discount for continued loyalty to the program is beyond me.

MayDay -

As I stated above, a tricycle is something I'm looking into. I am reasonably sure that it would cost me more than a motor scooter to get my hands on a good recumbent tricycle in my area, though likely the overall costs would swing in favour of the trike. There are no reliable forms of special transport or discounts that I can access without either claiming to be more disabled than I am (or than I feel I am, at least) or that would be more reliable than existing transport. There -is- a special transit branch within our city for disabled individuals, but it's meant for taking the severely disabled to and from pre-determined appointments. It's not designed for daily use by a single individual, that's what standard transport is for.

I'm getting the sense that I'm sort of stuck with my current situation for the time being, at least. Winter does limit my options some, but I am also glad to know that I've considered most of the obvious options already. I'm still open to new input, and eager to explore what options may be presented, though.




  • Stubble
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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 08:38:29 PM »
I have a vestibular disorder and can't ride a bike or drive, so like you, I am dependent on walking, the bus, or getting rides with others. Walking can be hit or miss, too, since I fall a lot. My disorder began about a year ago so it has been quite a struggle adapting to reduced mobility.

A few things I've found, some of which aren't particularly frugal...

Amazon delivers groceries. Several other grocery stores by me do as well, but Amazon has more specialty products, so maybe see if they carry the things you like from the inaccessible store? It is often more expensive, but better than spending 2+ hours on the bus.

Rides from neighbors, church friends, family... I have a family, but if my husband is working, and it is pouring rain out, there are folks who will give the kids and me a ride. Offering to pay the gas may be a win-win, since you will save time and bus fare.

Carpool... Do any of your coworkers live near you, or is your home near their route home? Try asking HR for help finding a carpool buddy. HR can see addresses (even though they probably won't share with you) and could email or call employees to sound out potential car pool options. Try explaining the commute issue and see if they have any other suggestions.

Para transit... Both cities I've lived in had 1/2 priced, reduced fares for disabled. Needing a cane or crutches qualifies. It is a US federal program... Maybe there is something like that?

As for shoes, how about one of the places that guarantees shoes for life? LLBean? REI? DocMartins? Buy a good pair, and a spare, and just send in for repair (or replacement) as needed. Just read their policy carefully.


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Re: Mobility With A Disability?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 08:58:33 PM »
One thing to keep in mind if you're reducing from a monthly pass to a few books of tickets, is that you might get a tax break on the pass but not tickets... the rules have changed a few times.

You might be able to bus to work and get a ride home, especially in winter.

Or you might need more library books for the ride home. 

I do a lot of my far away shopping as a day trip to make it more exciting, and remembering to buy in bulk sometimes helps (3 bottles of aminos, not costco kind of bulk, because I can't carry that much home)

I'm hoping someone can think of a great solution for you. I'm going to look into getting a pair of boots with a guarantee.