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Travel Costs

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

I have spent the past three weeks attempting to arrange a trip to Montreal for myself and Don.

Due to a recent court case (which Air Canada and West Jet both lost), air transportation services are required to be fully accessible, and to not charge additional for people with disabilities who need assistance on their flight, or need an additional seat. Don's health needs don't require "care" in this sense, but it did mean that we were able to arrange for his wheelchair to be flown to Montreal with a minimum of fuss. (We have to get there early so they can take it apart before putting it on the plane, and then we get to use the airport wheelchairs! Wheeee!)

Getting to the airport, on the other hand, is a hassle.

If you go to the "special needs" section of the Halifax Airport website, you'll see that they list the Airporter as accessible. I've called the Airporter. They are not accessible. They offered to carry Don and his wheelchair up the steps, though.

If you are not a wheelchair user, I'd like you to consider being offered to be carried up the steps by a complete stranger, into a bus, and decide if you think that's okay.

This is putting aside that Don is 6'10" tall, weighs about 240 lbs, and his power chair weighs 225 lbs.

[I have called the Airport and asked them to remove the information that the Airporter is accessible. They told me they would. As of this writing, it is still up there.]

Eventually we contacted Need-a-Lift, which is an accessible taxi service. Instead of the 36$ it would cost Don and I to get to the airport by shuttle, we will now be paying at least $55, just to get to the airport, plus the same amount return.

At first it seemed that there would be much less of a propblem on the Montreal side. Quebec has a service called Keroul, which is "tourism and culture for people with restricted mobility". I contacted them and asked about wheelchair accessible transport to and from the airport. They directed me towards the Aerobus service, which indicates on their website that they offered "adaptable transportation on reservation".

[This is when I actually booked the tickets, because I now had transport to and from the airport, and had also booked an economy hotel that was listed as being accessible. We can't stay in hostels because I've never seen one that is wheelchair accessible.]

I think it may be easier for me to just C&P the email I had to write to Aerobus:


I've spent two days attempting to arrange adaptable transportation with your company because your website (http://www.autobus.qc.ca/anglais/pops-up_an/mtl_dorval_an.html) indicates that it is available upon reservation. Imagine my surprise when someone finally told me that you have no wheelchair accessible buses. I had to *prove* that this information was on your website.

The information on your website looks like this:

[I C&P the information from their website, but you can view it yourself at the link above]

I was told to arrange a taxi.

We had not budgeted for a taxi. We budgeted for your airport shuttle because your website indicates that you have adapted transportation, with no indication this would cost additional funds.

I'm very angry and disappointed that this has happened so shortly before our trip to Montreal next week.

It is also not acceptable to offer to "carry" someone and their wheelchair into a bus. It's invasive and unsafe, and for people with chronic pain conditions, painful. This is putting aside the fact that someone just offered to "carry" a 6'10" man and his 225 lb wheelchair.

If your company does not offer adapted transportation, then it should not indicate that you do on your website. If your company DOES offer adapted transportation, your English language dispatch needs to be informed of this immediately. This should not have been a two-day, three-phone call process just to be told your company could not provide the service advertised on your website.

So, instead of the 16$ per person one way (with a discounted return ticket of 26$ for a total of 52$ for Don and I), we're going to need to pay 38$ one way, for a total of 76$.

You may not be aware that people with disabilities disproportionately live below the poverty line in Canada. In Nova Scotia, because I'm a student, Don cannot receive any government aid - I'm to apply for student loans (thus, get myself further in debt) to pay for things like wheelchair repair and Don's daily medication needs. Think about that - I'm to get myself further into debt so my husband can leave the house. (This is what we call a "marriage disincentive".)

Thus, already we're behind because Don currently cannot work, and there's been no government-based assistance to make up the shortfall because I'm a student. We saved up and borrowed money from family to do this trip, and already the costs are spiraling way out of control. We knew we'd have to book a hotel instead of a hostel, but both the Halifax Airport and the Montreal Airport offer shuttle services that are claimed to be wheelchair accessible, and are not. So, we've had to put aside $200 just to get to the airport and back. That's just under 1/3 of the cost of our combined airline tickets.

This is the cost of daring to go on a vacation with a disability.

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Travel means going some places to stay outside their usual environment, whether it is for recreational outing or an ocassion. Traveling from one place to another can improve your mental states, interpersonal relationship and immediate social situations. <a href="http://askdiana.com/pdf/travel/">Travel Guide</a> at askdiana.com

That is really saddening, I

That is really saddening, I just wish that you as a student get a great result and get going on and lift your self and Don up.

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