ErvinIt was a bright, fresh, rejuvenating spring morning in 1993. I entered the dial-a-ride vehicle that was to take me to my destination. Little did I know what a historic day this would be.

About a dozen years earlier, this new Chicago public transit option called dial-a-ride was unveiled. There were zero accessible mainline buses so the cripples were ecstatic. Jane, my quad friend, was excited because she disliked relying on others to drive her in her cripple van to her appointments, such as her weekly session with her shrink.

But now, thanks to dial-a-ride, she could just make a phone call and an accessible cripple bus would arrive at her door and whisk her to her destination! Or so said the brochure.

It didn’t take long for the cripples to become unecstatic. The idea of dial-a-ride was way too good to be true. In reality, you had to call to reserve a ride a day in advance and call over and over until you broke through the busy signal. And by then all the ride slots might be filled, or available rides might not be at the time you needed. And then your ride might come an hour late, and even if your destination was 20 minutes away, it might take two hours to get there because a dozen other dial-a-ride cripples were picked up and dropped off along the way.

Jane only took two or three dial-a-ride trips to her shrink before she stopped using dial-a-ride altogether. Because she’d spend so much of her shrink session venting about what a degrading hassle it was just getting there on dial-a-ride that there wouldn’t be time to talk about much else.

The first batch of mainline Chicago city buses with wheelchair lifts hit the streets in 1992, after disenchanted dial-a-r