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DC Paratransit Riders Skeptical Of Promises To Listen And Act

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

WASHINGTON, DC--MetroAccess, the DC-area's curb-to-curb van service for 16,000 riders with disabilities, has received a record number of complaints in the five weeks since its operations were taken over by MV Transportation.

The Washington Post reported that riders have complained that, among other things, they have been stranded or not picked up for long periods of time, the system has failed to adequately communicate with them, drivers have been rude and have often taken routes that made no sense because they were not familiar with the area.

Last Thursday, Metro board Chair Gladys W. Mack publicly apologized for the poor service, and said that an ad hoc panel would be appointed to hear directly from riders.

Some riders, who had complained repeatedly, said that it was time to move beyond talking and on to making improvements.

"If the problems are that bad, then Metro needs to fix the problems and not just delay a solution by allowing people to ventilate," said Harold Snider, a MetroAccess rider who also heads the Montgomery County Commission for People With Disabilities.

This Tuesday, the agency's new interim director, Dan Tangherlini, admitted that "the fact is, we are -- and have been -- stranding people or leaving them for a long time."

Tangherlini announced that he is forming a "critical management team" and would be giving it just two weeks to improve the paratransit system.

"Apology For Transit Program's Shortfalls" (Washington Post)

"Deadline for MetroAccess Improvement" (Washington Post)

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