Compliments for SSA complaints resolution official

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To The Editor:

In April you published my letter, “No decency on public transport.” I am pleased to report that the next day I was contacted by the SSA general counsel and complaints resolution official (CRO), Terence Kenneally, who assured me that the SSA has a disabilities policy, and he sent me a copy of the 10-page policy. The last page identifies him as the CRO who wants to be called anytime a passenger has a complaint. The complaint will be resolved from the offending employee or condition up to the vessel captain.

But more importantly, he advised me on how to avoid problems. Any passenger needing assistance boarding should first enter the terminal building and advise the ticketing agent or other employee in the building that they need assistance. That will trigger the disabilities policy, and the passenger will receive assistance boarding and exiting.

SSA employees do not offer assistance until asked because some people are offended by the offer. Some seniors and others are proud that they can take care of themselves or companions, and feel publicly humiliated by the offer.

Now when I have a suitcase or there’s bad weather, I’m going into the terminal and ask for assistance. On board, if I think I need assistance getting off the ferry, I’m going to ask the purser for assistance. And on the bus, I’m going to loudly ask if there is a handicap seat available.

I’m also going to send the disability policy to the Island Councils on Aging.

Terence Kenneally is a terrific contact, and invites your call at 508-289-4301.

Thank you, Steamship Authority, and thank you, Terence.

 

Irene Ziebarth
Chilmark