Government Departments, Phone Tag and Secret Fax Numbers



  • I recently applied for a student loan. In this country that involves

    1. An online eligibility test
    2. Assuming you pass, you're mailed a loan contract and must also provide proof of your identity and tax status

    Three weeks before the start date of my course I applied for a loan, passed the initial test and eventually received a student loan contract which I signed and sent back sans the required tax documentation due to my own failure to check that I'd included it, this was my WTF. Today I recieved a new contract but have yet to mail it as I can't find any documentation that would prove my tax status. So I called the relevant government department but was refused access to the free phone line because I called using a mobile phone since I don't have a landline. Standard national rates of 80c/m apply.

    Upon explaining the situation to the (very helpful) representative of the tax department said she could fax the necessary documentation to the govt. department, but she would require me to call the other department and get a fax number and the name of the person to fax to. I was in the process of getting it when I received a call from the woman explaining that she did indeed have a fax number after all, followed 10 minutes later by a call to say that the fax number she had was old and not used anymore, so I would in fact have to call that organisation back a 2nd time and get a fax number. I got through the hold queue and explained the situation to a helpful representative who went to check my file and so put me back on hold, it was during this hold that my call was disconnected because al my balance ($20 applied before the first call of this saga) had been used.

    I topped up an additional $40 and re-entered the hold queue, this time I got a less than helpful representative, who didn't want to give me a fax number at all until I mentioned that the tax dept was involved, at which point he was hesitant to reveal the fax number and made sure I understand that this was "not normal procedure". When I asked for a name to address the fax to, he quoted the name of the building that government department is in and not a specific person.

    I called the tax department back and after a 30 minute hold was told that the information could not be faxed unless I knew the name of the person at the student loan department who dealt with urgent affairs, which would have been given to me if the CSR had considered my request urgent, since he did not, I shall have to wait 5 working days for my tax confirmation, which will delay my student loan by 5 days, which will make it late.

    I realise that TRWTF here may be me for not starting the application process sooner, but I think me having to call a government department to get a secret name and fax number is sort of a WTF, as is the fact that none of the government departments involved will accept calls from cellphones. I do realise the expense involved in accepting those calls, but still it irks me a bit.


  • TRWTF here is still that the US has charges for receiving calls from cellphones. (In the UK, calling to or from a cellphone costs more than landline to landline, and calling cellphone-to-cellphone costs more if the cellphones are on different networks, but in every case, it's the caller who has to pay the extra cost, the person who receives the call doesn't pay a penny. For the same reason, free phone numbers are only free from landlines, you have to pay from cellphones, and even get a confirmation to make sure you really want to call them and pay anyway.)



  • @ais523 said:

    TRWTF here is still that the US has charges for receiving calls from cellphones
     

    I think the OP is in a country like Australia where calling a freecall number from a mobile phone is charged at the same rate as national calls: but TRRWTF is some plans don't include calls to them. Most mobile phone plans here work on "credit". I'm on a plan that costs me $15/month that provides $300 a month of "credit" (See 49 Cap Saver: I get a discount since I have ADSL2+). Calls and texts come out of that credit (a flagfall is charged so it's not as simple as X minutes per month, though it is per-second billing). I usually use about $100 of credit with my 2G Nokia. If I used $300 or less of credit it would cost me $15. If I used $330 of credit it would cost me $45! Virtually all post-paid plans are like this. OP appears to be using a pre-paid plan though, which tend to be lower value - though there are a few resellers that offer attractive rates on prepaid.

    But most mobile phone companies do not includes any 13 (local rate) or 1800 (free calls) calls in this cap, which could lead to "bill shock" if one wasn't expecting that. One should call those numbers from a landline - or public payphone if one can still find one.

    Those people could spend 5 minutes on the phone to a 1800 number and pay up to $5 on top of their usual monthly fee. When those fees can be $50 or even $100 per month it does add up. (Those big plans do usually subsidise a phone: One can get a iPhone for "free" on a 24 month contract)

    @ais523 said:

    the person who receives the call doesn't pay a penny

     You do when international roaming!

     



  • @ais523 said:

    TRWTF here is still that the US has charges for receiving calls from cellphones
    The US model is different from other parts of the world and sadly I can actually see some reason behind it. The receiver pays means that it doesn't penalize people who are calling you and don't know that you have a cell phone. Coupled with cell phone numbers being indistinguishable from land lines (and appearing as a local number) then that makes sense. On the other hand places like Oz with caller paying cell phone charges has cell phones in their own and separate number scheme so you can identify a cell number. You would hate to call a number and then get a bill of $XXX because you didn't realize it was a cell number.



  • Just to clarify, I am in New Zealand which is Calling Party Pays and I am on a prepaid plan. Calls are billed at 80c/min off peak, higher at peak times. Given how close the student loan people must work with the tax people, I wonder why they can't just run a query in the tax DB to get the required info directly. I'm sure there's some privacy policy in the way to prevent that from happening, but still this whole affair is best described as a clusterfuckingly bad experience. Wonder how many SqlDataReader instances contained an ID belonging to me because of this


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @crippledsmurf said:

    . Given how close the student loan people must work with the tax people, I wonder why they can't just run a query in the tax DB to get the required info directly.
    hahahahaha that's hilarious. Even in Mighty Amerika, the Department of Education more or less just takes your word for it that the information you give them is accurate.



  •  Yeah its ridiculous in NZ, I've often thought that exact same thing myself about the lack of information sharing. Its two government departments, yet they wont speak to each other even if you give them explicit permission...

    Businesses having 0800 (free call) numbers is but giving a "not available available from mobile/call this toll number instead" message when you call from a cellphone is a pain as well, particularly "Studylink" who does all the student loan stuff. What makes it worse is students are often doing things like moving into new flats/accomodation in this same time period, and either don't have access to a landline or are waiting for one to be connected, so they either have to stump up for cell phone call costs (spending 20+ min on hold each time) or try and find one of the Studylink offices.



  • This may be a stupid question, but in NZ aren't free call numbers free from public payphones?



  •  I assume so (never used them myself), but it relies on you finding a conveniently located one and being willing enough to stay in it for half an hour on hold.



  • Let's see if they'll let me hotlink.




  • @ais523 said:

    TRWTF here is still that the US has charges for receiving calls from cellphones.

     

    They're charging you for network use, which makes sense to me.  Most cell phone plans in the US have so many "free" minutes built-in, I never come close to using up my minutes anyway.

    BTW- TRWTF is charging extra for texting.  Everyone knows how hard it is to deliver a few bytes asynchronously from one phone to another.



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    Calls are billed at 80c/min off peak, higher at peak times.

    That sounds ridiculously expensive, from a swedish POV... Here, the rates are from about 4 NZ cents/min (cheap) to 20 NZ cents/min (very expensive).

    We used to pay around your rates too, but that was many years ago.



  • @boh said:

    @crippledsmurf said:
    Calls are billed at 80c/min off peak, higher at peak times.
    That sounds ridiculously expensive, from a swedish POV... Here, the rates are from about 4 NZ cents/min (cheap) to 20 NZ cents/min (very expensive).
    I think that it being an island off the coast of a bigger island jacks things up quite a bit.  Think of it like Ireland.  Ridiculously expensive to call it but calling the nearby island, not so bad.



  • Here in Romania, with my probably 5-6 year old prepaid mobile phone sim card,  I pay about 15-20 euro cents a minute in the same network and 20-25 euro cents with landlines and other networks. I could buy a newer prepaid card or get a 4 euro subscription that has probably 5 euro cents a minute within network but I'm too lazy to do it and waste time transferring numbers between cards and so on.

    When I upgraded my internet connection, I also got free "landline" (it's actually voip phone through the cable) and I pay 0.023 euro cents/minute with any networks in the country including landines. And there's a 60 minute package for International calls (most Europe and US) for 1.4 euro:

    It's so sad to see how monopolies keep the prices high and countries back in regards to innovation and technology.


     



  • @boh said:

    @crippledsmurf said:

    Calls are billed at 80c/min off peak, higher at peak times.

    That sounds ridiculously expensive, from a swedish POV... Here, the rates are from about 4 NZ cents/min (cheap) to 20 NZ cents/min (very expensive).

    We used to pay around your rates too, but that was many years ago.

    When I was in NZ, computer hardware was completely ridiculous-- a mid-range PC that cost $450 in the US would cost about $900 in Auckland. Turns out this is the result of a misguided tariff, a failed attempt to create a native computer industry that failed, but the tariff was never appealed. Also, one of NZ's MPs was a total pot-head, so there's that.



  • TRWTF is to have to call and ask to be sended the document, instead of just going to that department and ask the document in person :)



  • @dr spock said:

    Businesses having 0800 (free call) numbers is but giving a "not available available from mobile/call this toll number instead" message when you call from a cellphone is a pain as well
     

    At least in Australia calling a freecall number from a mobile is actually more expensive for the freecall number owner than if someone called from a landline. (Cite) This is despite the fact it costs the same or more for the caller! (Compared to calling any other landline or mobile phone) I know I would prefer to call a normal number over a freecall/local rate from my mobile, as well as the business would prefer you to call that too. My Voip line also gives much cheaper calls to landlines than "local rate" numbers.

     @dr spock said:

    and either don't have access to a landline or are waiting for one to be connected

    That is the problem. Also that payphones are disappearing!



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    was refused access to the free phone line because I called using a mobile phone since I don't have a landline. Standard national rates of 80c/m apply.

    Skype?



  • @intertravel said:

    @crippledsmurf said:
    was refused access to the free phone line because I called using a mobile phone since I don't have a landline. Standard national rates of 80c/m apply.

    Skype?

    People don't think about Skype. I had a friend who didn't dial-in to a meeting he was supposed to present at, and his excuse was that he didn't have a landline at home and his phone battery was dead. I said, "but you had a laptop right?" "Yeah." "And it has speakers and a microphone right?" "Yeah." "And you have an internet connection, right?" "Yeah." "So we were covering for your ass because you didn't think of just downloading a VOIP program?" I was not happy.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @intertravel said:
    @crippledsmurf said:
    was refused access to the free phone line because I called using a mobile phone since I don't have a landline. Standard national rates of 80c/m apply.
    Skype?
    People don't think about Skype. I had a friend who didn't dial-in to a meeting he was supposed to present at, and his excuse was that he didn't have a landline at home and his phone battery was dead. I said, "but you had a laptop right?" "Yeah." "And it has speakers and a microphone right?" "Yeah." "And you have an internet connection, right?" "Yeah." "So we were covering for your ass because you didn't think of just downloading a VOIP program?" I was not happy.

    Can't you talk on the phone while it's plugged in / charging?



  • @HighlyPaidContractor said:

    Can't you talk on the phone while it's plugged in / charging?
     

    That was my thought as well.

    He's at home. He's got power. Surely his charger is in arm's reach as well.

    Maybe "battery dead" meant "broken battery", but eh.



  • Well, I know a coupla models that drain battery faster than they charge while on-call. So if you plug it, then start talking, it'll die again after a few minutes. And again. And again...



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    Just to clarify, I am in New Zealand which is Calling Party Pays and I am on a prepaid plan. Calls are billed at 80c/min off peak, higher at peak times. Given how close the student loan people must work with the tax people, I wonder why they can't just run a query in the tax DB to get the required info directly. I'm sure there's some privacy policy in the way to prevent that from happening, but still this whole affair is best described as a clusterfuckingly bad experience. Wonder how many SqlDataReader instances contained an ID belonging to me because of this

    I knew it! Your entire post just smacked of Inland Revenue.

    Half the problem is that the student loan scheme is actually administered by Work and Income (the social security office, for you 'mericans) and the only time they're allowed to share info with the tax department is when trying to investigate benefit fraud. Stupid, I know. Of course, after the first year, your loan is transferred to the IRD (for bonus WTF) who still only know you have a student loan if you explicitly tell them (via the IR-whatever-the-bloody-hell-number-it-is form).

    Not accepting phone calls from mobiles is annoying, but makes sense when you realise that if they did, they would have to pay $0.80c while you're on hold for half an hour. Why they don't do what Work and Income does and automatically shunt mobile callers on the direct dial number to the front of the queue so they don't have to pay as much, I'll never know.



  • @OzPeter said:

    You would hate to call a number and then get a bill of $XXX because you didn't realize it was a cell number.
     

    I've read about this but don't know how it works practically: How much does it cost to call international destinations within the NANP from the USA, such as Canada, Carribean nations and external territories? I was looking in my VOIP international rates and it charges different rates to different numbers in Jamaica, for example (mobile phones), but rates calling +1876 are much higher than calling the USA . The Dominican Republic uses the 809 area code which is dangerously close to 800 or 888, so I can see people making an international call but thinking they are making a free call. (I used to work for a certain pizza company whose number ended in 888 while the taxi company ended in 008, and there were lots of people mixing those up, at least several a week. I think they've both switched to phonewords now)

    So as far as I can tell, within the NANP there is no way to really know how much your call will cost unless you memorise the hundreds of area codes, and some of them you'll have to have intimate knowledge of the next three numbers.



  • @Zemm said:

    @OzPeter said:

    You would hate to call a number and then get a bill of $XXX because you didn't realize it was a cell number.
     

    I've read about this but don't know how it works practically: How much does it cost to call international destinations within the NANP from the USA, such as Canada, Carribean nations and external territories?

    There is/was a fairly common scam in the US where you would get paged and the callback number was one of those area codes which sort of looked like a US area code but just quite wasn't. If you did call the number you ended up calling a premium service in another country and you got a nice $$ charge on your bill.

    But the best social engineering that I heard of was a guy in the US who registered a bunch of phone companies like "What ever" "Anyone" "Doesn't matter" etc. Then when people called an operator to connect them, the operator would ask which phone company to go through. Joe public would say "Anyone", the operator would look down their list of phone companies and find a company called "Anyone" and then use that as the carrier. Of course the rates that this guy charged were significantly higher than the big names, and though he was really buying capacity off them he was making a killing. This was a classic setup as he was providing a legitimate service and people were requesting his service by name. It just wasn't the service they were expecting! I heard of this maybe 10 years ago, but I can't remember the exact details now



  • That's epic. Apparently there has been quite kicked stink over Vodafone resellers cancelling customers contracts and reconnecting them to get a higher commission rate or something. New Zealand is pretty bad, Telecom here has had to be poked by the commerce commission in order to get the local loop unbundled, and even that was only in a small area.

    Someone suggested using Skype to call free call numbers instead of my phone, that only works where Skype has a local point of presence, unfortunately that doesn't include New Zealand it appears. Called my mobile on Skype and caller ID indicates that the call comes from an Australian number, which most NZ toll free numbers would likely block



  • I didn't actually know that the student loans we're admin'd by W&I, I guess that makes sense, I just figured the tax dept. would take a far greater interest given the number of people with interest free loans that subsequently piss off over the pond for a while. As soon as you leave NZ those loans become taxable so there is a large piece of pie there that I imagine the IRD want a piece of. Perhaps if either of those depts. accepted cell phone calls, they may actually have an incentive to create processes that don't entail me listening to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0pWejAnLUQ>"this for half an hour. I'm not sure if IRD, Work & Income and studylink are all Ministry of Social Development (the latter two are) but they all share the same hold music.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    Let's see if they'll let me hotlink.


     

    USA federal government: We create the problems, so that we can provide the "solutions".



  • @HighlyPaidContractor said:

    Can't you talk on the phone while it's plugged in / charging?
     

    <aside>

    When the battery goes flat on my electric razor it has to be recharged; plugging it in does not allow you to use it immediately. 

    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?

    </aside>



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    <aside>

    When the battery goes flat on my electric razor it has to be recharged; plugging it in does not allow you to use it immediately. 

    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?

    </aside>

     

    Failure of electronics design.



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    <aside>

    When the battery goes flat on my electric razor it has to be recharged; plugging it in does not allow you to use it immediately. 

    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?

    </aside>

    After a trip that the electric razor <font size="+2">should</font> have been able to hold a charge through (so I didn't bother packing the charger) but didn't, I switched back to blades.



  • @RTapeLoadingError said:

    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).



  •  @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?



  • @DescentJS said:

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?
    Because the laptop isn't connected to the mains power directly, but through an underpowered charger.



  • @DescentJS said:

     @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?

    That's exactly how car batteries work.  Batteries are rated for Amp Hours (Ah).  While it may take an alternator 8 hours at 50 Amps to fully charge a dead car battery, that same battey can deliver several hundred amps to start a car.



  • @frits said:

    @DescentJS said:

     @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?

    That's exactly how car batteries work.  Batteries are rated for Amp Hours (Ah).  While it may take an alternator 8 hours at 50 Amps to fully charge a dead car battery, that same battey can deliver several hundred amps to start a car.



     yeah, but an alternator is a lot less powerful then the city-wide electricity grid.


  • @DescentJS said:

    @frits said:

    @DescentJS said:

     @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?

    That's exactly how car batteries work.  Batteries are rated for Amp Hours (Ah).  While it may take an alternator 8 hours at 50 Amps to fully charge a dead car battery, that same battey can deliver several hundred amps to start a car.



     yeah, but an alternator is a lot less powerful then the city-wide electricity grid.

    ...and much more powerful than a smallish battery charger hooked to a 15 or 20 Amp breaker.

     



  • @DescentJS said:

    @frits said:

    @DescentJS said:

     @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?

    That's exactly how car batteries work.  Batteries are rated for Amp Hours (Ah).  While it may take an alternator 8 hours at 50 Amps to fully charge a dead car battery, that same battey can deliver several hundred amps to start a car.



     yeah, but an alternator is a lot less powerful then the city-wide electricity grid.
    If you connect your battery to the entire city-wide electricity grid, it is likely to a'splode.

    To avoid danger of a'splosion, batteries are charged at a very slow rate in a process known as "trickle charging".  This involves charging them at a rate far less than the peak current they can deliver on discharge through a load (to be precise, it's charging them at a rate about equal to the rate at which they naturally leak charge when disconnected.)




  • @DaveK said:

    (to be precise, it's charging them at a rate about equal to the rate at which they naturally leak charge when disconnected.)
     

    You appear to say that the time to charge a battery (an hour or two, three) is the same as the time until an idle device needs to be recharged due to natural leakage (days upon weeks).

    Am I incorrectly performing a 1:1 mapping of charge rate : time?

     



  • An update on my student loan situation and the strange fax-related protocols that would appear to besiege this part of my government. Last I informed you I was waiting five days to recieve an IRD (IRD = IRS for those in the states) a dead tree proclaiming my unique identifier for tax purposes. Having received this I sent it in an envelope provided by StudyLink addressed to the place where evidence is supposed to be sent. This was a Friday. I live in the lower half of the south island, the mail is to be delivered to Palmerston North. According to the postal representative this should take four days, plus an additional two since the mail presumably went nowhere over the weekend.

    That was last week. it's currently Thursday and my course begins in 48 hours. The Studylink website informs me that they are still awaiting evidence of my IRD number and I have nothing to indicate that they have even received the document, so I called them. According to the CSR, it may take up to a week to process documents received and update the status of my application in the web application. The CSR went on to say that if I don't see it in the next few days or so I should consider faxing them a copy of the document as this would take a day or so to process. Upon mentioning that I had attempted to fax them the document in the first instance and was not permitted to do so, it was revealed that they only accept faxes internally (from a StudyLink office) or from Work & Income (the american equivilant is the social security administration, I think) So in order to fax them, I must take the document to a W&I office and have the document authenticated there before faxing is permissible that seams reasonable I suppose, but that they will also authenticate a print-out of the same document from the IRD website so any benefit they get of full colour letterhead, bar coded paper or whatever other identity verification might come from an official hard cp[y wpuld appear to be moot.

    I just now attempted to create the requisite account to login and print out the required letter. Account creation succeeded however I was asked to activate my account by calling them. Upon calling the IVR went something like this

    "Welcome to Inland revenue ... (unnecessarily long pause)....due to our computer system being down today we may be unable to help you with your enquiry. If you would still like to speak to one of our staff please hold the line" If I don't activate that account by phone in 48 hours, a dead tree will be dispatched, this will take 3 - 5 working days

    All this is apparently safer than allowing StudyLink to run a query on the IRD database?

    FML

    <!--I hate community server -->


  • @DaveK said:

    @DescentJS said:

    @frits said:

    @DescentJS said:

     @ender said:

    @RTapeLoadingError said:
    Does anyone know of a good reason why it would behave this way?
    Often because the battery can supply higher current than the charger can. I've read that Apple laptops throttle their CPU if you use them without a battery (only with charger).

    How the hell would a battery be able to deliver more current then the main electricity supply?

    That's exactly how car batteries work.  Batteries are rated for Amp Hours (Ah).  While it may take an alternator 8 hours at 50 Amps to fully charge a dead car battery, that same battey can deliver several hundred amps to start a car.



     yeah, but an alternator is a lot less powerful then the city-wide electricity grid.
    If you connect your battery to the entire city-wide electricity grid, it is likely to a'splode.

    To avoid danger of a'splosion, batteries are charged at a very slow rate in a process known as "trickle charging".  This involves charging them at a rate far less than the peak current they can deliver on discharge through a load (to be precise, it's charging them at a rate about equal to the rate at which they naturally leak charge when disconnected.)


     

    That's the whole point of having an adapter for a computer though, as it is definitely possible for that adapter to supply enough power to run the computer and trickle charge the battery.  (hence why apple's computer chargers are a wtf)



  • In case anypne cares, just got a call to say that my student loan got approved....AND I got a taxi for tomorrow morning which is normally impossible to get in the morning. It looks like I may even make orientation, albeit slightly late due to the govt monopoly on taxis between 0700 and 0900 but thats a whole other rant



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    govt monopoly on taxis between 0700 and 0900 but thats a whole other rant

    You can't just say that then stop typing! What! The! Fuck!!

    Edit: Christ, the country in 'Brazil' had less bureaucracy than yours!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @crippledsmurf said:

    govt monopoly on taxis between 0700 and 0900 but thats a whole other rant
    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? More information is required.




  • @Weng said:

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

    I should have been slightly more specific. Said monopoly exists as stated except that it applies only to taxis capable of transporting those of us who have, to quote Stewie, a cyborg component. The government mandates that any person under the age of 16 is required to attend an educational facility. As a means to ensure this is applied equally the Ministry of Education pays taxi companies some amount per year to provide transit to children in wheelchairs or who have mobility related impairments, This combined with the fact that transport providers don't consider it neccessary to have more vehicles on the road than are reasonably garenteed to be occupied means that the only wheelchair accessible vehicles routinely available between 0700 and 0900-ish are those which are fulfilling the requirements of the aforementioned contracts.

    The situation occurs again between 1430 and 1630 as school ends for the day between 1500 and 1530. This leads to a situation where those of us without access to the contracted resources (read any not in the mandatory levels of education) is shit out of luck if they want to use a taxi in the morning, or if they wish to return between 1430 and 1630



  • How do regular kids get to school? You don't have buses? Why don't you just add ramps to the buses?

    It sounds like this was some shady under-the-table deal between the cab companies and a politician with loose morals.



  • Most able bodied children walk or receive rides from parents. Buses exist and are used by some. Accessible buses are rare, we have some in Christchurch but they aren't usable for reasons of both politics and practicality. Most of the bus drivers simply don't stop for those who need wheelchair access to a bus because it involves them having to lower the bus (hydrologically, it's nothing more than pulling a lever) and then get out to put the ramp down, this however adds time to their route and they dislike this greatly. This is especially bad for those of who use power wheelchairs because the small ramp and doorway require precise manouvering to get through, even more so for those of us who have things attached to the side of our chair (I have a GPS)

    Assuming you can get on to the bus you then need to cram your chair into the gap they leave for wheelchair passengers which is not easy to do when you have visio-spacial and coordination issues and the added pressure of a pissed bus driver passive-agressivly wanting you to hurry. When you do park it, you best hope your angled right so you can reach the pole with the stop button on it because your going to need it to keep you in your chair if you have balance related issues, or need to signal the driver to indicate you'd like him to stop at an otherwise empty stop.

    By comparison there are advantages to a wheelchair taxi, Principle among these is the fact that the chair is strapped to the vehucle via heavy vynal straps and metal hools, and unlike a bus you have a seatbelt. Also, if you make regular use of wheelchair taxis and are selective about the firm you use, you get to know who's driving you fairly well and they get to know you. This works well for both parties because most drivers will go out of their way to accommodate you because they know it means regular business, you get no such treatment on a bus. In fact, I have a friend who has brittle bones, he was on a bus that stopped suddenly, he flew out of his chair and broke a few ribs and both legs



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    I have a friend who has brittle bones, he was on a bus that stopped suddenly, he flew out of his chair and broke a few ribs and both legs
     

    Hilarity Lawsuit ensued?



  • @crippledsmurf said:

    Most of the bus drivers simply don't stop for those who need wheelchair access to a bus because it involves them having to lower the bus (hydrologically, it's nothing more than pulling a lever) and then get out to put the ramp down, this however adds time to their route and they dislike this greatly.
     

    Whoa, culture shock.

    I used to be a bus driver. Where I worked, a driver deliberately not stopping for a wheelchair passenger would be grounds for immediate termination. Immediate, as in, pulled off the bus and someone else comes out to finish your shift.

    I mean, yeah, the wheelchair lifts were a major pain in the ass and broke all the time, and they put you behind schedule even when they worked correctly, but fuck, that's your job.

    Amateurs.



  • @Someone You Know said:

    I used to be a bus driver. Where I worked, a driver deliberately not stopping for a wheelchair passenger would be grounds for immediate termination. Immediate, as in, pulled off the bus and someone else comes out to finish your shift.

    How would they detect that?


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