In a recent survey conducted by the American Printing House for the Blind, transportation was ranked as one of the biggest challenges people who are visually impaired face. Can you imagine having to ask someone for a ride, or having to schedule rides days, or hours in advance every time you need to go to the store, grab a bite to eat, or pick up your medicine? For most of us, the freedom of jumping in our car is a fact of life that we take for granted.

Of course, there are many transportation alternatives to owning a car, but each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

Public transportation

Provides an alternative to driving your own car, but there are many things to consider. For instance, transportation may not be available everywhere, especially, in smaller cities and towns. And even when available, a bus or a train may not run all the time, or take the person close enough to their destination.

A cab ride, although a good alternative, is for many of us, too expensive when used daily, or several times a day.

Larger cities have a system often referred to as a paratransit system. The paratransit is a service that provides people with disabilities with door-to-door service for a nominal fee. A disadvantage to this system is that people have to know at least 24 hours in advance when they need to be dropped off and how long they will be in a specific location in order to be picked up. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. For instance, it is hard to know how long a person will be in the doctor’s office, or how long it will take to finish a job interview. .

In later years, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft have provided a great alternative to all the previous methods of transportation. For the most part, they are less expensive than a cab ride, and although more expensive than the paratransit service, rides can be scheduled at any time, and transportation is usually available within minutes.

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