TTRS: Make the road by walking.

My daughter got sick suddenly. She had a bit of fever when she got home from preschool and then woke up convulsing.

Having never seen that before, my wife and I sprang into action. Hospital. Now. Since we both had to go, we piled all the kids into the car, and peeled off. There’s an interesting balance you strike between driving as fast as you can, while being 110% aware of your family in the car. But we made it to the hospital.

We were seen immediately. Between terse updates, we started to calm down. It was the fever. She’s young. It’s a “natural” response. She needs to get transported up to the children’s hospital.

My wife and I swapped, she took the other kids back home and I rode the ambulance with baby girl. While going up the nurse explained, when the temp’s high, try to give a cold shower, which’ll keep the child cool. Then, if no change, bring them down to the hospital. Nurse was professionally calm. She made the ambulance ride feel like we were passenger in a taxi headed to the Dial on regular errands.

At the hospital, the doctors saw to registering and baby girl was on a bed in about twenty minutes. Eventually they explained. It was a febrile seizure. Given all that they explained, and how sudden it was, we started to calm down. I sat in the parent’s chair for about five hours before the doctor confirmed that we could go home, with instructions for continuing treatment.

Now, this was 11:30 pm. My car was at home. I was in slippers and shorts. I had my wallet, my phone and my charger. I didn’t need my wallet. I had known that I wouldn’t need it when I jumped into the ambulance. I did need a charged phone, though.

Make The Road By Walking – more than just a cool song title.

11:30 pm, we walked out of the hospital, baby girl in my arms and I sat at a bench under the stars. I opened my phone, turned on the TT Ride Share App and was on my way home in another 15 minutes.

Since I don’t work for TT Ride Share, and have no endorsement contract with them, don’t read this as an infomercial or “sponsored content”, lol. In fact, I see what happened with TT RS as a pointer to a larger question.

When I first heard the name of the Menahen Street Band song, a decade or so ago, I didn’t really parse it. “Make the road by walking”. It’s a great song. But the title hits different if you analyze it. Sometimes, there’s no path until we make one. And that’s what these RideShare apps have been doing – making a new pathway for transport.

When we talk about public transport infrastructures, in Trinidad, it usually means being able to “walk out the road” and catch a ride. But that’s based on a notion of “catching a ride”. TT RS and others is pointing to the ride coming to you. Can that be part of the perspective of public transport in the future?

When Uber first came to T&T, it was met with concern and opposition from the incumbents. In fact, wherever Uber went around the world, it only seemed capable of drawing ire from institutions. But did any public sector people think, “How can we make a public version of this?”

Public doesn’t have to mean cheap, or free, or weakly-supported. It can mean capable, future-oriented, and world-class. Between now and then, I’m happy that a service like TTRS is being developed and I hope that they continue to build it safely, with the future in mind.

3 thoughts on “TTRS: Make the road by walking.

  1. Great post. Glad you got through. And yes, TTRS and the 27 other RideShare apps in the country are changing transport options. I appreciate the opportunities they provide both riders and drivers. It would be great if even further momentum to this sub-sector were added by Government support, especially as it pertains to legislation and insurance coverage.

  2. Public sector projects make sense when:

    1. The Capital Expenditure is extremely high and would dissuade private entities from entering the market (like: Trains, nationwide energy, bus terminals and networks).
    2. A Monopoly by a profit-seeking entity would not be desirable.
    3. There’s a national strategic benefit in having that infrastructure (think roads, schools, water, energy), and having the infrastructure be financially accessible to a significant portion of the population.

    I’m therefore not certain this sort of service is well-suited to the public service, notwithstanding your valid takeaway that the public service should be capable, future-oriented and world-class.

    I mean, the current privately provided ridesharing services do, by your own experience, seem to work, and work well, so why bother with a public alternative?

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