Good evening, and welcome to the second of three online town halls in the lead-up to the #HamOnt municipal election.
Tonight's theme is #transportation, an important issue that affects disabled people everywhere, whether they live in urban centres, or in rural areas.
For people with disabilities, getting around their neighbourhood, town or city can be time-consuming, exhausting, and can often feel like they are playing some kind of complicated strategy game.
Zach Anner's "Quest for the Rainbow Bagel" shows how inaccessible public transit can turn a seemingly simple errand into an all-day journey.
And discrimination from transit operators and fellow passengers can make it hard to face the journey at all.
Difficulties in accessing transportation can leave disabled people struggling to find work, or to leave home at all - particularly since many disabled people are unable to drive.
These issues are often reported on in a regionally-specific way, but the problems described are consistent - unreliable service, discrimination, and crumbling or poorly-designed public infrastructure.
We have prepared one set of questions for the mayoral candidates for #HamOnt, and another set of questions that apply broadly to disabled people, regardless of where they are currently living.
To make it easier for people to follow the discussion, the @djnontario account will only be tweeting out the chat questions, and retweeting the responses from the candidates, while the town hall is taking place.
To see the full discussion, including other people's responses, you can follow the #CripTheVote hashtag, and set the page to ‘Latest’.
We would also like to ask that you reply to the tweeted questions, rather than quote-tweeting them, as this can make the conversation easier to follow, and therefore more accessible, for some people.
We are aware that Twitter chats are not accessible for everyone. For those who cannot participate, we will also be updating the DJNO blog, at djno.ca/blog, with a summary of each discussion, the day after the event.
This town hall is scheduled to be 90 minutes long.
Questions for the community
[The time indicated in brackets after each question corresponds to the time this question will be posted on Twitter, during the town hall on Wednesday, October 17th]
1. Welcome, and thanks for joining us. Please introduce yourself! [6:00pm EST]
2. The planned LRT line for Hamilton has become a prominent issue in this election.
As a disabled public transit user, have you found different modes of transportation to be more or less accessible to you? [6:10pm EST]
3. How do public transit and public infrastructure affect your day to day life? [6:20pm EST]
4. As a disabled person, what aspects of public infrastructure impact you most significantly? [6:30pm EST]
5. Monday's #CripTheVote chat focused on gentrification and access to affordable housing.
What role do you think public transit might play in changing the impact of gentrification? [6:40pm EST]
6. Hamilton's area rating system charges city residents different tax rates, depending on the level of transit service in their ward.
How does the level of transit service in your neighbourhood impact your quality of life?
Have you ever had to make a choice between living in a neighbourhood with strong transit service, and living somewhere more affordable with less transit access? How did that affect you? [6:50pm EST]
7. Disabled people who rely on specialized transit services often report that the services are unreliable, offer limited availability outside of normal business hours, and must be booked so far in advance as to be inaccessible.
Have you ever needed to use specialized transit services? What were your experiences with that like? [7:00pm EST]
8. Accessibility of transit services depends not only on routes and vehicles, but on transit operators, and their awareness of and sensitivity to disabled people.
Have you ever experienced inaccessibility while using public transportation because of an operator's actions or attitudes? What steps do you think need to be taken by cities to address this problem? [7:10pm EST]
9. What role would you like to see cities offer for disabled people in planning for accessible and inclusive transit systems? [7:20pm EST]