A few years ago I had a business trip to a major American city that has an airport far from downtown. The meeting I was attending suggested a specific airport shuttle service to downtown hotels. I followed the suggestion and to this day have bad memories of that shuttle ride. We had long waits, an inexplicable change to a different van before we even left the airport, and uncommunicative driver who seemed to be driving in some odd directions. Each passenger was glad to exit an unpleasant and long shuttle experience.
Last week I returned to the same city. A few things were different this time around.
I was able to do my homework. I knew to check online reviews of shuttle services. Sure, price is important, but so are my time and safety. I made a more informed decision than before.
I booked the trip online and that started a reassuring information connection with the shuttle company.
The minute I turned on my phone as my flight taxied to the gate, I had a message giving me directions to baggage claim and the shuttle. After I picked up my bag, I received another message with a van number and an estimated number of minutes until I would be picked up. Everything seemed to move faster since I knew what was going on. And I didn't feel forgotten or misplaced. I boarded my van, it made a couple more pick-ups at the airport, and we were on our way.
I looked at my phone's map app and saw a 28-minute eta to the downtown area. Good. And I could
see that the driver was taking the freeway route. About halfway through the trip, there was a large traffic backup ahead. The driver bailed onto an open exit. Ut, oh. Here we go. My map was able to show me where we were going, I learned a few things about local geography and landmarks, and we eventually met back up with the main route. And as passengers were dropped off downtown, I could see the locations of the hotels and was not puzzled over the driver's sense of direction.
There was such a difference in shuttle experiences, but why? The trips themselves were not all that different, and there were snags in each. The difference was information. I felt that I made a more informed decision, and using the shuttle's technology and my own tools, I knew what was going on every step of the way.
When will we equip people with ALS with the information and the tools that they need to make informed clinical trial decisions and to know what is going on every step of the way?