What does it take to understand that you don’t leave a blind woman on the corner to fend for herself? Everyone should understand that, right? Apparently Access-A-Ride drivers don’t.
Stacey Anderson emailed me because she says her daughter Alana is being mistreated. Alana is 25 and has been blind since birth. She uses Access-A-Ride to get around.
Alana told me one recent example of what happened to her, supported by some video her mom shot.
“My driver is sitting across the street. He’s far across the street from my building. I call Access-A-Ride and they say he’s right where I’m at. And I’m saying there’s no way.”
Alana and Stacey say that they specifically requested that the driver come to the door and escort Alana to the bus. It didn’t happen. And that kind of treatment is not uncommon.
“One driver took my daughter and left her on the opposite side of her address. And left her on the corner when she’s supposed to be door service -- and left her there.”
Access-A-Ride is an MTA program transit companies contract to provide the service. In Alana’s case, the company that she felt mistreated her until her mom got involved is called Maggie’s Paratransit. I went to their headquarters in Brooklyn to try to get some answers.
Instead, I got a runaround that culminated with them giving me the customer complaint line to call.
And there’s the problem in a nutshell. Who is taking responsibility? Certainly not some voice on a hotline.
By the way, the MTA told us the reason Alana’s driver parked on the corner instead of picking her up in front of her building is because it’s a one-way street and it wouldn’t be safe to pick her up with the door facing the street.