asking your company to pay for a car service when you have a broken leg

We have a question involving a broken leg!  This is a good time to mention that I myself am still not fully recovered from my broken foot from 11 months ago. Meanwhile, my doctor, knowing that I am impatient to be fully healed, keeps reminding me that my particular injury “ends careers.”  He means for football players, but every time he says it, I wonder if my foot is working behind the scenes to ruin me professionally. In any case…

A reader writes:

My boyfriend recently broke his leg and will be in a brace and using crutches for the next 6 to 8 weeks. He did not get injured at work or at a work related event/activity; this was on his own time at a private gym.

We live in New York, and his commute is usually 30-40 minutes by subway. When he’s in good health, the walk to and from the train, not to mention the many many stairs in his commute, are not a problem. With the crutches, I see him getting to work in the same way nearly impossible. (He is very optimistic and plans on going in early or late to avoid rush hour and it’ll be fine. Note, he’s been on the crutches for a day and was exhausted.)

He’s planning on speaking with his boss and HR about working from home as much as possible in the next few months, but for days that he is required to be in the office, would it be unreasonable to ask the company to pay for a car service? Do you have any tips how to bring this up? Have any of your readers dealt with this?

This is going to vary widely by employer. Some employers would agree immediately and might even offer it before he had a chance to ask. Other employers would look askance at him even making the request (some nonprofits, for instance).

So it really depends on what your boyfriend’s workplace is like.

The best way to bring it up would be to say something like: “I’m trying to figure out how to get to and from work. Is there any chance the company might be able to help pay for a car service?”  Something like that sounds pretty unassuming, and isn’t likely to go over badly with any employer, even if they ultimately don’t say yes.

By the way, the crutches will get easier pretty soon. (And these will make them more comfortable.)

{ 132 comments… read them below }

  1. Stephanie

    Has he looked into paratransit through the transit agency? In DC at least, the regional transit agency has to offer accommodation (via shared van service). I’ve mixed things about the paratransit services in DC, but that could be an option if his company balks at a private car service.

    1. Anna

      There is a paratransit group in New York City, called Access-a-Ride. But I really don’t know how reasonable an option it is for something like a broken leg, which isn’t a permanent disability (though it may seem like it). And from what I’ve heard, scheduling it conveniently can be troublesome — along the lines of the “subject to availability” thing line you hear on TV when somebody is running a promotion. If O.P.’s husband’s company brings up Access-a-ride as an option, it might be worth mentioning this.

      It should be pointed out that very few of NYC’s subway stations have elevators to street level. None of the ones within walking distance of my home do, for example, and the ones near my last job had them merely because I worked near Penn Station and Herald Square.

      In any event, it might be worth calling one or two of the local cab companies to find out what the fare is. If the O.P.’s husband has a meeting with his employer he can bring in this number — less the $2.25 subway fare each way (since he’d be paying that anyway if uninjured) — as well as information on whether or not the relevent subway stations have elevators, and the feasability (if any) of Access-a-Ride, he might end up with a better solution from his employer.

      1. Stephanie

        Oh, interesting. I had a friend here in DC who used MetroAccess (the DC paratransit system) after foot surgery. Granted, she worked for Metro and probably knew how to navigate the system such that she qualified.

        I hurt my leg in college in Houston (where there’s barely any reliable transit) and couldn’t drive. I was just at the mercy of friends to get me to and from campus.

          1. Stephanie

            Rice. I tried to take the light rail once (I lived in the Medical Center area). My apartment was a mile from the station and I did that on crutches. It was awful; after that, I just sucked up my pride and asked for rides.

      2. Kou

        I work with people with chronic illness and disabilities and here they transit’s shuttles for disabled people are supposed to give you a 30 minute window for pickup, but in reality it’s more like 2 hours. The people who use it tend to be extremely early to things because otherwise they’ll have to be extremely late. So even if it appears doable on paper, you never know what the actual access is like.

    2. Flynn

      Ah! That’s covered by ACC in NZ (public health insurance; basically injuries are covered by the government, not the employers). It’s not perfect; there’s a minimum travel distance and other qualifying factors, but they’ll pay for taxis for things like broken legs.

    3. BW

      We have this in Boston as well, but it requires going through an application and approval process first, and your MD must complete the application and complete it in a specific way or else it will be rejected. For someone with an uncomplicated break, it’s not worth it. You’ll be near healed by the time you can use the service.

      Try asking around for a carpool. Offer to chip in on gas/parking/whatever.

      FWIW – I was on crutches for 6 weeks in the dead of winter after dislocating a hip and I did not drive. It was actually not bad getting around on the subway. Most stations had elevators and/or escalators. I also got really good at crutching on stairs. My local subway station was not accessible. So I was SOL there. It may not be something he can see navigating early on when he’s still in pain and not used to using crutches, but later when he feels better, it might not be so bad. The worst part is the rush hour crowds really.

      1. mh_76

        One of my friends uses that service sometimes (more frequently before she went into her power chair from a manual, now can use public transit a bit). The routes are sooo circuitous that it sometimes takes much longer to get from point A to point B, even in no traffic. They also have a strange system re: who gets dropped off / picked up where & when, depending supposedly on geography but really lacking any logic. In general, Boston’s public transit system is horrible (as are the in-city roads) and best avoided whenever possible (esp. at rush hour). NY’s syetem is comparatively better and is probably more universally Accessible – some of the Boston lines, including buses that aren’t jammed full of people, are very much so but the streetcar line is almost entirely not.

        I wonder if the OP’s BF could use a pedi-cab service and if they can do scheduled pick-ups / trips? Some of the taxi co’s in cities can do that too but only if you don’t call too far ahead – in a previous job, I’ve scheduled cabs to take people to/from the airport with not a lot of trouble. Of course it depends on the company and on traffic.

  2. Ivy

    My dad tore his Achilles and had to have surgery to get it reattached. Again, in an unrelated-to-work incident. He was on crutches for several months, and his company payed for car service the entire time (he didn’t have to ask; they offered). He had no issues getting this service for two reasons I think a) the industry and b) his position.

    Also, crutches suck.

      1. K.

        Heh – I lived in an NYC fifth-floor walkup for three years, which I actually didn’t mind (the apartment was lovely, the rent was below market and rent-stabilized) – but I thought more than once “If I ever break my leg, I am screwed.

  3. Brett

    Hopefully the company will help, although that could be pretty expensive so it would definitely depend on the company.

    If his company won’t pay, according to the MTA site, paratransit is only available when they must use an inaccessible subway station. Which probably isn’t too many. (he may also be able to qualify under a limit on the distance to travel to and from the stations themselves, if home or work aren’t close to a station)

    I think he’ll probably need to learn the subway stations layouts to find the best route to the elevators to avoid stairs. If he’d normally have to walk a long way to transfer trains, busses might allow him to transfer with less walking.

    Another possibility to check into would be a vanpool.

  4. The IT Manager

    Disclaimer: I don’t live in NYC. I visted there once for three days and did not love it at all.

    Are one of those powered scooter chairs a possibility? Presumably the subway must be handicap accessible so there must be elevators for people in wheelchairs that he could use while riding the chair.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        In DC, at least, not every station is … but if you’re disabled and are at one of the stations that isn’t accessible, there’s a van that will take you to one that is. But I’d imagine that’s a pain in the ass.

        1. Stephanie

          Or they are in theory, but the elevator’s been under maintenance for the last nine months.

                1. Stephanie

                  The new escalator needs to be dispensing chocolate teapots given how long it’s been out of service.

      2. Carly W

        In the outer boroughs, I’d even say most are not. You should see the mothers trying to navigate the stairs carrying strollers, diaper bags, etc. the flip side is, people are usually very nice, offer to help, and so forth.

      3. JessA

        I used to live in New York. Unfortunately, many of the subway stops do not have elevators to the street. And even at the locations where they do have the elevators, I have seen many of them out of order. :-(

    1. Zee

      NYC for some people has to grow on you, if it ever will. It finally has grown on me, and I find myself wanting to go back a lot. It depends on where you go and what you want to see and do. For me, though, it took seeing other worldly cities in order to come back and have some appreciation for it.

      Unfortunately, though, those power scooters would not be helpful in the city. First of all, pedestrians will be in his way on the sidewalk, and he couldn’t dodge a taxi fast enough in the street in that. Second, with the subways, I can only think of one subway entrance that actually has an elevator, and that’s the Bowling Green entrance down by Battery Park (in front of the Native American Museum); but even with that, his stop might not have one. Otherwise, it’s stairs every other subway entrance and exit I have used. There might have been escalators in one, but I don’t remember.

    2. The IT Manager

      I do not understand how it is possible that it’s LEGAL for the NYC public transit system to not be handicap accessible. Doesn’t the ADA take care of that?

      1. Stephanie

        Technically, it is. Bus and/or paratransit service are supposed to compensate for non-accessible stations. And to be fair, a lot of the subway system probably predates the ADA, so MTA had to cobble something together.

        1. Anonymous

          NYC Subways are over 100 years old. It’s safe to say that it’s older than the ADA.

          There was a gentleman in a wheelchair on my express bus last night. Turns out he had 3 buses pass him by without stopping because the bus drivers didn’t know how to work the handicapped lift thing. Sad.

          1. Subway dweller

            From someone in NYC at great weekend train disruption they are upgrading the subway to have elevators and in the 20 years I’ve been here a larger number has them but still the majority does not.

            Buses are better in terms of accessibility (all,of them have ramps) but with traffic usually mean a trip can take forever depending on how far you are going, if you have to transfer and the time of day you have to travel.

            Access-a-ride can be used for temporary disability but can be unreliable, sometimes the van is there on time, sometimes you wait forever. Also you have to be approved so if it’s very temporary it might not be worth it.

            It’s a tough place to be in. I’ve had friends take the subway from a station with elevator to another one then take a cab because it can get expensive quick just to take cabs.

          2. class factotum

            Seriously? I am very impressed with the bus drivers here (in Milwaukee) at that attention and care they give to passengers who use a wheelchair. It takes an extra minute or two to lower the ramp and secure the wheelchair, but it doesn’t seem to be rocket science. I suspect those bus drivers who passed the guy were just being jerks.

          3. Anonymous

            To be fair, my website predates the ADA but I still comply. I do not believe age of the system or business or building has anything to do with compliance.

        2. Lore

          There’s actually still (I think) a lawsuit pending because the last round of transit cuts in NYC eliminated a lot of the buses that ran between the boroughs. So a trip from, say, downtown Brooklyn to lower Manhattan, which had been wheelchair-accessible by regular bus routes, suddenly could only be made via (mostly inaccessible) subway or (mostly unreliable) paratransit.

      2. Zee

        Like someone wrote earlier, the majority of the NYC subway system is over 100 years old. They are just building the Second Avenue subway line now. I’d be interested in knowing if it meets ADA approval. They are also working on the 7 Line between Times Square and Queens Plaza, but I think it has more to do with the actual rails rather than its accessibility.

      3. zelp

        NYC does what NYC pleases. take it or leave it. if you’re really fed up change it yourself/group people together to fix it. complaining gets you nothing here.

  5. Amouse

    I’m picturing my doctor trying to give me some perspective on the seriousness of my prolonged injury by comparing it to a career-ending injury for a football player. I don’t think that would really be helpful to me.

    OP: I don’t think there’s any harm in your boyfriend asking. Just ensure it doesn’t sound like he’s presuming it will be done. The phrase Alison provided would work well. The worst they can say is no and then you look at alternative options. Others have suggested some good ones here. Good luck!

      1. Elizabeth

        This could work well in a lot of places, but I suspect it wouldn’t work so well in NYC. People are much likelier to take public transit there than in many cities, in my experience. Even people who live in the surrounding suburbs are likely to drive to a train station and ride into the city on the train if they work downtown – parking is expensive in the city and traffic can be ridiculous.

        1. Anna

          +1

          Since I don’t have a car, I don’t have much reason to pay attention to how much parking costs, but in many parts of the city nightmarish traffic is the norm.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Weirdly, I actually like that he’s so serious and grave about it, because the doctor I’d been seeing earlier was really blase about it: “Oh, you’re still limping when you walk and can’t even try to run? Well, it might just be like this forever. See you in six weeks.”

      The newer guy is much less cavalier, so I find him comforting. My thought process seems to be that as long as he’s worrying about it, I don’t have to.

      1. Amouse

        Yeah that first doctor’s reaction definitely would be more concerning. I can see why you got a second doctor. I just can’t relate much to football players but I guess it’s the principle of the thing ie. professional athletes have been unable to continue with this injury.

        In any case I hope it heals very soon for you!

      2. Jamie

        I would find that more comforting as well.

        I need the doctor and I to be on the same page regarding how serious I think something is.

      3. Job Seeker

        I am sorry it is taking your foot this long to completely heal. I hope it gets better soon. You are an amazing person.

      4. Kou

        Some doctors see so many really awful things that when something like that happens they don’t really register how bad it really is, and/or how much in impacts your quality of life doesn’t really make sense to them.

      5. EngineerGirl

        Oh, AAM
        When I broke my leg it was 6 months before I could fully bend it and well over a year before the majority of the limp went away. It still comes back after a physically strenuous day. And I always know if a major storm system is coming in!

        Do take care of it though. These sorts of things can turn inuo arthritic issues in middle age. Push it, but be gentle.

  6. Wilton Businessman

    Depends on his position and the company. I could actually see this going either way. Telecommuting is a great idea of they go for it, especially with things like Skype or ooVoo if you have the bandwidth.

  7. Bridgette

    “Help pay” or “help with costs” sounds a lot better than “will you pay” in these situations.

    Never hurts to ask (theoretically), so I hope that the boyfriend’s company will at least chip in a little, or help facilitate something if they are unable/unwilling to cover costs.

  8. Jamie

    I get the working from home thing, but I’m baffled that the paying for a car service thing is even in play.

    I think it’s a nice thing to do – but it would never occur to me to ask my employer. I mean they don’t arrange for me to get to work any other time, they didn’t cause it so there’s is no responsibility to assume.

    Again – I’m all in favor of employers going out of their way to do something nice, I’m just shocked that anyone would think to ask since I can’t see how it’s ever your employers responsibility to get you to and from work. I mean what you’re really asking for isn’t work related as much as it’s a really big and really expensive favor.

    1. class factotum

      It would never occur to me to ask, either. And I take the bus to work, which would be difficult if I had to get to the stop on crutches and in the snow. My husband would be stuck driving me.

      1. class factotum

        Of course, my employer doesn’t even provide coffee, so a car service would be absolutely out of the question. I’m surprised I don’t have to bring my own toilet paper to work.

          1. Amouse

            I’ve worked at places like yours. So when I arrived at my new company I was flabbergasted that they said “All the supplies are down here, just help yourself whenever you need them.” I’m used to the supply cabinet being kept under lock and key!

            1. class factotum

              I did take my own toilet paper when I was a Peace Corps volunteer. And I kept it locked up in my desk. My office supplied it, but it was stolen regularly from the bathroom by the members of our co-op.

              1. John Quincy Adding Machine

                I brought my own toilet paper when I worked in Thailand, too. The school I worked at was weird — we had to provide most of our own office supplies and the TP was almost never replaced when it ran out, but we had free coffee and tea, free unlimited photocopying, and a few vans that staff could use if they had to go to Immigration or the Board of Education.

              2. EngineerGirl

                We always called toilet paper “mountain money”. Funny what becomes important in remote areas.

      2. twentymilehike

        It would never occur to me to ask, either.

        Same here, but wonders never cease ….

        My company used to have an employee that (I don’t know how he got hired in the first place) who was a handfull of just wrong. He was not legally supposed to be working in the US, didn’t speak more than two words of english (and only ONE person spoke his language in our whole company), lived an hour away, and didn’t have a car, and made LOTS of mistakes. At some point, it was brought to my attention that the company was paying for his train passess, AND sending someone to pick him up and drop him off at the station every day! I’m starting to think he had some dirt on someone …

        When all else fails … blackmail!

        Just kidding. Happy Friday, everyone :)

    2. fposte

      My thought was that this was a workplace that regularly used a car service anyway, so it was a “could I be added to the docket?” query.

    3. Anonymous

      I agree, I only read the comments here to figure out how anyone would think such a thing is on the table.

      But now I am wondering how subway system can get away with anything less than full ADA access if they are accepting Federal funds to maintain their systems! AAM is very thought-provoking! :)

      1. Evan the College Student

        I hear that they get away by providing theoretically-equivalent surface transportation. (I’m guessing it’s the Access service some other commenters mentioned earlier?)

        Disclaimer: I’ve been to NYC exactly once, for two or three days, about seven years ago.

        1. Anna

          Yep. I’m pretty sure that’s how they do it. Between the MTA’s bus system (there are some big gaps in subway coverage) and the Access-a-Ride service, there is — in theory — accessible transportation available.

    4. Anon

      Generally agreed, but if OP’s boyfriend works for a certain kind of place in New York City, it might be less big and expensive than it would elsewhere. For instance, the people I know at large corporate law firms in NYC end up using a car service most nights anyway because they’re at work so late. Since the firm already has an account and (perhaps?) a group rate and is paying for it often anyway, it might not be much extra to pay for it to work a couple of times a week as well.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of place I was thinking of — where if you’re working late, they pay for your dinner to be delivered and for a car service home.

      2. Jamie

        That makes a lot more sense. I’ve never worked anywhere where that was a common thing. You’d only hire a car to take people to the airport at the places I’ve worked – and then only if you couldn’t get an employee to drive which was almost never.

        1. The Snarky B

          Jamie- I totally understand the confusion/ aghastity (aghastness?) about the car service. This whole system is a bit of a culture shock to a non NYer, as it once was to me. It’s pretty common at law firms and I imagine financial firms to pay for car services for any employee there after 9pm or some other rule set by the firm. Employees don’t have to pay into that system separately, it’s just part of the job. So I can see how OP here might be able to say “can I hop onto that as a regular for a bit? Other than that, though, I’m with you- asking sounds a little crazy w/o a precedent.

        2. Anon

          Yeah, I work in central DC (which is more car friendly than New York) and virtually nobody drives into the office – people who live further out park at a Metro or commuter rail stop and take the train in. So I think in some cases, asking for car service would be kind of like an injured employee asking for a parking space while he was on crutches would be in other places.

      3. Stephanie

        In concert with working remotely regularly, I could see this not being that big of a request, especially if the company has a car service account and/or reimburses cabs regularly.

        I’m not an ADA expert by any means, but I think the system just has to be accessible. So, every station may not be accessibly, but there has to be some way to get to an accessible station.

        1. Anna

          There are in theory, but they might not really be good options. Some bus lines run only once every ten to twenty minutes during off-peak hours, or the traffic might be so bad that it adds significantly to the length of the commute.

          Cabs, unlike buses, don’t have defined routes, so they can be more flexible in what route they take.

          Come to think of it, if the station nearest the office is accessible, perhaps the employer can cover the cab fare to an accessible station rather than cab/car service fare door-to-door. The shorter trip would be less expensive for the employer, and the boyfriend can show up at the office more regularly.

          Oh, and I’m not an ADA expert either, but I have lived in New York longer than I really care to let on, and can go on and on about the subways — which I seem to be doing today.

          1. The IT Manager

            I have now moved totally off-topic, but wow: Some bus lines run only once every ten to twenty minutes during off-peak . That’s awesomely regular service in most other parts of the US. And that is why the public transit system is relegated to the people that can’t afford cars in much of the rest of the US. It’s incredibly inconvenient. My friend looked into using the bus in Detroit (I think) and it turned a 40 minute drive into a 4 hour ride. Not feasible at all.

            A fascinating discussion topic though.

            1. Suz

              I thought the same thing. Where I live, during peak times, it’s every 20-30 minutes. It’s only once an hour the rest of the day. I looked into commuting by bus. If I took the 1st bus in the morning and the last one in the evening, it would be a 2 hour bus ride each way and I could only work a 6 hour day or I’d miss the last bus home. Yet Metro Transit wonders why more people don’t take the bus.

            2. TL

              In my state, the city with the best (arguably the only functioning) bus system took one of my friends an hour to make a 4 mile commute on it.

              This is why I’ve never used public transportation.

            3. Jen in RO

              For someone who’s not in the US, this conversation is baffling. The only places where buses pass once an hour are rural areas around here (the buses that connect so-and-so village and the next big town). I’d probably get major culture shock to move into most US cities… especially since I hate driving.

              1. The IT Manager

                Yes, that is a difference between the US and a lot of foreign countries. A car is almost a necessity. Of course not everyone can afford one, and those peoplewho can’t have a limitted geographic area in which they can search for work because they need something can get by walking, riding a bike, or using the no so great public transit system.

                And when we talk about a bus system, we’re talking in a city. Rural areas often don’t have any bus system at all.

                It’s a chicken and egg thing. Everyone has a car so the public transit is not used very much and underfunded. The public transit system is underfunded so it’s not good or efficient so everyone needs a car.

          2. Ellie H.

            I agree, “only once every ten to twenty minutes during off-peak” is quite incredible. I live in Boston where public transportation is arguably quite decent but my bus comes every twenty minutes during peak times, forty-five minutes in dead spots and once an hour after 9 pm (which is when I want to take it home if I’ve been out at night).

            1. ChristineH

              Whaaa….I want to move where you all live! The bus I take only comes ONCE AN HOUR any time of day! So if I miss the 12:10 bus, I have to wait until 1:10. Thank goodness my bus stop is only a 5-minute walk from my house!

              1. Anonymous

                Where I live, the buses only run from 6-9am in one direction, and then from 3-6pm in the other direction. If you don’t work a close variant of 9-5 heading downtown, it’s pretty much impossible to use the buses. I find that sad, because I live within walking distance of the bus stop, and I couldn’t even use the buses when my hours were 10-6:30pm.

            2. The Snarky B

              Ellie,
              Your frustration totally makes sense. I hate systems that run less at night (basically all of them). For me (NYC), regular bus service would be about every 12 mins in peak hours, some busses by me come every 7 minutes or so. But I feel your pain. NYC transit is awesome. Living here, you take it for granted and find new things to complain about of course. :)

            3. BW

              It totally depends on where you live in the city. I can expect a bus connecting me with the subway about every 10-15 late nights and weekends. Rush hour is actually tougher in my area due to busses getting bunched up in traffic. :/

      4. shellylove2002

        I work for a large company, so asking for car service when obviously needed is not out of the question. We used to use it more frequently but with the changes in the economy there may be a lot of questions before it’s approved.

        I had a freak accident with my foot 2 years ago; I almost shattered it. Before the accident I was scheduled to attend a 3-day meeting in NYC at our headquarters. There was NO WAY I could travel via public transportation without an issue so they approved some VERY NICE cars to come for me 2 of those days. I presented the issue to my boss, and the transportation arrangements were made on my behalf. End of story.

    5. Wilton Businessman

      @Jamie:
      It really depends on your package and your company. I know lots of people that commute into NYC from the burbs and their companies pay for their train ticket (~$400/month) plus their parking. But those are not entry-level positions, mostly staff and management.

    6. OtherJamie

      Me neither! It wouldn’t even occur to me to ask. (Then again, Los Angeles is full of commuters, but still. Here, we’re bowled over with happiness if your employer pays for parking…)

      Agreed on all points — I’m in favor of accommodations, but asking for something like that wouldn’t even be on my radar.

      (…then again, I never would have thought about asking for an option to get *pet* health insurance through my university, which someone actually asked during my orientation, and they actually offer! Mind blown. Hahah.)

    7. The IT Manager

      Thank you. I thought the same thing and wondered if it made me a witch (so to speak). It would never occur to me to ask for something so outragious, and I would zero trouble telling an employee who asked me for this “no way.” It’s the employee’s responsibility to get to work.

      I do think making work from home accomidations are reasonable if the employee can do so.

  9. fposte

    Alison, did you purposely put the post about the guy getting around on one leg right next to the one about job-hoppers?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Well, now the crutches are gone (thank god) and so it would just be some ugly shoes. (Although I am told that in a few weeks I will be cleared for more attractive shoes.)

      1. Anonymous

        I hurt my foot thought not nearly so dramatically, and on a recommendation from a near stranger bought a pair of Fluevogs. Fabulous, supportive, and comfy dress shoes. Though some of their shoes are a bit…odd. I get so many compliments on them though.

          1. Elizabeth

            I’ll second Fluevogs, and add Dansko to the list. I call my black laceups my clown shoes, but they don’t make me hurt.

            1. KLH

              Yes! on recommendations for both Fluevogs and Danskos. My sister has odd feet and only wears Fluevogs now. I just started working retail and shelled out for the Danskos, but wore a pair of Fluevogs one day and they were even more comfortable. Also Kushyfeet (padded sockies) are great.

  10. MK

    NYC has a lot of travel options that the OP can look into. I used to live in Queens and worked in Manhattan’s Chinatown several years ago. I sometimes rode privately operated buses when pressed for time or exhausted. Sure, the drivers went way over the speed limit but it was $4 a pop, cut my travel time by half, and the buses ran every 10 minutes. I’m not saying that this is what’ll work for the OP, but just pointing out one alternative.

    1. Amouse

      I didn’t will it to but the theme song from the 90’s sitcom The Nanny invariably pops into my head every time someone mentions Queens.
      They have “private buses” as a thing in NYC? I’ve heard of people chartering buses for events but not for daily commutes. That’s kind of crazy in a way.

        1. Amouse

          ha! No not at all! I really liked it too! It was a catchy little theme song it will just be stuck in my head now for a while now lol.

          ah ok like shuttle buses. I grew in in TO (Toronto), canada. Streetcars are pretty convenient there and there was always a bus or subway near my house so there may be these privates daily shuttles and I just never heard of them.

          1. AP

            I once got into an argument with a stranger while waiting on a subway platform (in NYC) over whether Flushing was in Queens or not. I cited the Nanny theme song as proof.

            1. class factotum

              I remember the episode of The Nanny where her mother was on the Slim Fast diet. The mom said, “I add some ice cream to it – it gives you a little body.”

              The Nanny answered, “No it doesn’t.”

              I wish ice cream were a diet food.

  11. An HR Person

    I’m not in NYC, so perhaps they do things different there, but I am in SF, and my company frequently uses a car service to transport employees to and from various locations. We are extremely liberal with when and where management-level employees can use it. With that said, I cannot imagine that we would allow someone to use the car service for their regular commute every day, especially if that person was not a more senior member of the management team (which isn’t clear from the OP.)

    But, I guess if this isn’t a completely foreign concept in the OP’s boyfriend’s industry, then I’d ask about “helping with the cost” as some PP mentioned, rather than asking the employer to pay for it.

  12. Blinx

    I broke my left leg a few years ago and was still able to drive. Not sure I could have bummed rides for 6 weeks or more if I couldn’t though. Since I’m in the burbs, the only car service my company had was for the extreme higher-ups. They did let me park in the handicapped space, though.

    OP’s boyfriend, I feel for you. Crutches are horrible, and sap your strength. I expected my arms/shoulders to hurt, but was really surprised that my abs did too! Some countries don’t use the tall crutches at all, and just use the wrist-high ones — I think they may be easier to operate.

    Sorry, no commuting advice from me, but if you need help coping in the next several months, I can highly recommend this web site: http://mybrokenleg.com . Tons of practical advice and commiseration. They have a search function, so you might find how others in NYC managed. You can also look up your exact type of break. Good luck!

  13. Miss Displaced

    Does he have AFLAC?
    I believe they cover this type of injury and it pays for more than the injury itself. Worth checking into.

  14. Not So NewReader

    I live in an area where there are no buses or taxis. I cannot imagine getting around like that on crutches – extremely exhausting.
    Does his doctor realize what he is doing? I would be willing to bet that if he did he would be willing to write your BF out of work. That level of exhaustion can only be a liability to the healing process.
    I was offered three days off from work for a hairline fracture in my thumb! (I did not take the offer – it seemed silly to me.) But it sounded to me like they had a chart to follow- x injury gets y days off.
    I would also check at his doctor’s office they may have recommendations for travel to work.

    Perhaps coming in on a lower plane will get the info he wants. Maybe someone with a car would be able to pick him up for a few dollars a day. Or maybe there are informal groups that car pool together. HR might have a lead on this type of thing. Or they may say “oh, we have a van that will come get you…” Be sure to explain how many accessibility issues there are on the way to work.

    My main thought though is that if the doctor knew your BF was doing this much physical exertion the doctor would be upset enough to help in some manner.

    1. Daisy

      There is no such thing as a carpool in NYC. Just about no one drives in, and the occasional guy who does is doing so from NJ or CT and is very unlikely to be passing by this guy’s apartment that sounds like it’s about 50-60 blocks away from the office.

  15. B

    Perhaps, instead of asking them to pay for it, have him ask if he could use the discount they receive. Unless he is very high up the food chain, I think this would be laughed at. I once worked at a place that would not even allow someone to alter their hours to non-rush hour arrival an departure because they were not high enough.

    As for the NYC subways, almost all were built before the ADA act and the elevators in current stations only work half the time.

    As for the crutches, it is one of those things where he will eventually build up the endurance.

    1. The Other Dawn

      I think there’s something to be said for one’s place in the company. And it depends on how much that employee is valued. Someone who brings a lot of value to the company is much more likely to be granted a privilege than one who shows up late or just “gets by”.

      People have talked a lot about bus service and the subways, but why can’t OP’s boyfriend take a cab? That would seem like the most obvious solution to me.

      1. Daisy

        Car service and cab rates in NYC are similar and the car service shows up on demand while it can sometimes take a while to flag a cab.

          1. TheSnarkyB

            That’s a car service. If it’s called a “company” like that, people are referring to car service companies. Whereas cab means TLC official NYC yellow cab. (Sorry- if you’re in NYC that’ll come off as super condescending but I’m assuming/hoping you’re not, based on the terminology you used.)

            1. Laura L

              “That’s a car service.”

              Ah. Only in NYC, then. Everywhere I’ve lived, you can call a cab company and they’ll send a cab to your place at a specified time to take you wherever you’re going. No need to hail one off the street.

              Are all yellow cabs part of one company? Is a car service a different company that’s more expensive than a cab? When I picture a car service, I think of something more expensive and classy than a cab service.

              1. some1

                I live in a mid-sized city & the cab companies will only let you schedule a cab pick-up for going to the airport (as in, be at my house tomorrow at 3:00). Otherwise, you just have to call right before you want to leave.

              2. BW

                Can’t schedule inside of Boston either. They tell you to call 30 minutes before you want to be picked up. When I lived in the burbs, you could indeed call a cab company and schedule a pick-up time.

                1. KLH

                  Wow. I live in Phoenix and don’t own a car, and the cab companies (at least the one I use) let you call, internet schedule and text to get a cab. The quoted time to pickup is 5-20 minutes.

        1. The Other Dawn

          Oh, ok. It seems whenever I’m in NYC there’s million cabs, but I guess it all depends on where you are and what time it is.

  16. Ali_R

    Even if he does get a car service, he should look into a knee scooter. I broke my foot shortly before my namesake did here. It had been many, many years since I’d had a go on crutches; all I can say is crutches are for kids and jocks!

    I picked mine up off of Craigslist and sold it there when done for the same price I paid for it. There are also rental companies, but I would suggest picking one up off Amazon to resell when you’re done if you can’t find it used locally.

    Here’s the one I used: http://www.amazon.com/Ramm-TLC-Pathfinder-Turning-Caddy/dp/B003TODPWY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349503549&sr=8-1&keywords=knee+scooter+tlc

      1. Ali_R

        Absolutely! Plus scooters make it easier to schlep your stuff around. Having a messenger bag + crutches = youtube video waiting to happen.

        It could be the OP’s boyfriend has a full leg cast though. If that’s the case, maybe his only option is crutches. Ugh! Feel for him.

        On a tangent, I hope you manage to find the right answer for your foot. I understand the whole life changing injury/illness and I am crossing my fingers that is not the case for your foot (or the OP’s BF).

  17. Sandrine

    In France, depending on your job, you’d be on medical leave for all that time.

    Yup.

    A coworker just got six weeks leave because she injured her hand so badly that it… well, I don’t know what exactly, but she risked losing her hand, apparently. Good thing she got good doctors.

    1. Anonymous

      OP’s boyfriend could probably go on leave if his injury prevented him from doing any work. That doesn’t seem like the case here. The problem is his commute. A broken leg doesn’t doesn’t prevent someone from taking phone calls or using a computer.

      Anyway, I’m in NYC. A friend of mine was on crutches for about 6 weeks and getting around totally sucked. Car service is expensive, but if the boyfriend’s employer is reasonable, they should be willing to work something out. Telecommuting with car service expenses covered on days it is absolutely necessary for him to be at work does not sound out of line. However, like others have said, he should be prepared to offer to pitch in. For example, if he normally gets a Metrocard through Transitchek, he can suggest that money go toward a car service (since he probably won’t need a monthly card for awhile). They may insist on covering the full cost, but I think offering is key, if only for a few employee brownie points.

  18. The IT Manager

    At a previous job an old supervisor of mine took workman’s comp for a month or more after he injured his ankle/leg in the parking lot (stepped into a hole or something) because he could not drive his manual truck into work after the injury. I was away for training during this time, but co-workers all thought it was a lame excuse since we’re all office workers who sit at our desks all day with the occasional walk to a meeting in the building. The injury did not prevent him from working at all. Couldn’t he borrow his spouse’s car which might be automatic or have her drive him or something. Again, it’s the kind of thing that wouldn’t have occured to me beyond the first week of recovery. It really seemed like he was milking the system. We didn’t know the details, but it came across as someone who found a way to get time off. (We could not work from home at all.) He wasn’t terribly well-liked already so it probably did color opinions.

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