Articles Interventions

Please Fund Paratransit

An open letter to London City Council as they continue budget deliberations…

Members of city council,

As I am sure you are being inundated with budget requests (demands?) I promise to keep this weekend missive brief. To put things in the simplest terms possible: while I fully understand the immense budget pressures you are currently facing it is vitally important that you fund the LTC’s request for increased Paratransit funding.

As a service, Paratransit has been underfunded for decades with ridership growth that often outstrips annual budgetary increases, leaving the LTC with an ever-smaller cup to bail out a ship that is rapidly taking on water. Over the past few years, both in the press and on the doorstep, you have heard the real-world impacts of these budget constraints—disabled Londoners are quite literally being excluded from daily life, medical appointments, and employment. Yes, there are some serious logistic and systemic limitations that constrains our system but, at the end of the day, chronic underfunding is a core driver of our current predicament. We are actively disabling Londoners by underfunding Paratransit and you have an opportunity to reverse this trend.

While I will not be able to join you tomorrow in person, I ask that throughout the public consultation process you take a moment to look upon the crowd and ask: How many disabled Londoners wanted to attend but were unable to get a ride? How many voices are missing from this conversation because of past decisions? Are disabled Londoners really equal citizens in this municipality if we cannot get rides to participate in our democratic processes?

Please enable Londoners by funding Paratransit.

Jeff Preston, PhD


“One of A Kind Car” on CTV News

A few weeks ago CTV News came along for a spin in my new car. Celine Moreau did an awesome job on the report, managing to get it all wrapped up before I left town for thanksgiving. Note for new drivers: you thought driving was tough before? Try doing it with a film crew. A little nerve-wracking. Joking (mostly); I had a great time.

You can see the video below.


Free At Last…

Photo of a temporary G2 license with "Free at last" written over top


Letter to the Accessible Public Transit Advisory Committee

Picture of an LTC bus with the words "Accessible" written above

Several months ago I attempted to board a bus and was informed that London bus drivers would no longer ask nondisabled riders to vacate accessible spots to allow a wheelchair user to board. I was then informed this is what “you people” wanted, to be treated “like everyone else”…which I guess means “badly.” After weeks of discussion I was finally invited to make a presentation at the Accessible Public Transit Advisory Committee (APTSAC) meeting in August, who will make a recommendation to the Commission at the end of August. This is the letter I have submitted to the committee in anticipation of my delegate status.


Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament 2012

A list of celebrities at the Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament
A list of some past and present celebs of the tournament

This past Friday was the 17th annual Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament, an event Rotary runs yearly in my honour to raise money to help find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. This event is without a doubt the high point of my summer and something I look forward to every year. Once again, we had a packed field of golfers who braved the heat for a good cause, raising over $25,000 to be donated to Jesse’s Journey. I am absolutely humbled and forever thankful for continued support of the Port Elgin community getting behind this tournament in a huge way for nearly 2 decades. For all of those involved in the planning, operating, playing and sponsoring of this tournament, I cannot say thank you enough.

This year also came with some particularly shocking news. As you may or may not know, I have spent the past two years attempting to find a way to drive a vehicle independently. My dream of driving a car took a serious blow in late 2011 when I was informed the only way I could drive was with advanced hand controls and automated ramp system which would cost close to $90,000 — adaptions that are not covered/augmented by any government or non-profit funding available to me. It appeared there was no realistic way to make this dream a reality in the near future.

Cheque presentation at the 17th Annual Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament
Cheque Presentation

I was surprised, however, on Friday night by an announcement at the tournament from Duncan Hawthorne (CEO of Bruce Power) that the requisite money had been raised in collaboration with Port Elgin Rotary and I will be receiving a fully adapted van in the next few weeks. That’s right, sports fans, I will be driving by the end of the month! After all these years I will finally be able to drive independently…and three days later I’m still kind of speechless.

I could honestly gush for hours and hours about how thankful I am but honestly words don’t even begin to express how thankful I am. To this point I have lived a charmed life and it is all thanks to the limitless support I have received from my family, friends and surrounding community. Thank you for believing in me, supporting me, and I promise this van will be put to good use.

Thank you.

Speaking Engagements

Free Screening of “Idling: A Transit Story” @ Carleton University

As a part of “Social Justice Week,” Jeff’s documentary “Idling: A Transit Story” will be screened on Tuesday, November 2nd at Carleton University, followed by a short Q & A with Jeff.

“Idling” is an exploration into the world of accessible transportation in Ontario and chronicles Jeff’s marathon to Ottawa in 2008. The trailer for the doc can be seen on YouTube.

When: November 2, 2011 @ 6pm
Where: University Centre Atrium (4th floor), Carleton University
RSVP: Here on Facebook


Media Mobilize March -- Travel Blog

Idling: A Transit Story

After a year of pondering and editing, we’re approaching the online release date of Idling: A Transit Story.

Idling: A Transit Story is an online documentary produced by Jeff Preston, chronicling the lack of accessible transportation in London, Ontario and across the province. Follow Jeff on his mission to bring about change the disabled population desperately needs by driving his wheelchair over 650km from his home in London, Ontario to the nation’s capital in Ottawa.

The documentary will be released in parts beginning on September 4th, 2009 with new chapters being released weekly. The full documentary will be available for free download from once all chapters have been released online.