MetroAccess gets feedback from riders, IG

Riders who use Metro’s door-to-door shuttle for those with disabilities gave their opinions of how to improve the service this week, as the transit agency prepares to rebid the contract in June 2013.

Metro has an agreement with California-based MV Transit to provide the paratransit services known as MetroAccess. The transit authority held three public hearings this week to get feedback.About 100 people in total attended the three hearings.

Customers expressed concerns about drivers showing up late and confusion over the fares. They also complained about rude dispatchers at the customer service call center.

Christan Kent, Metro’s assistant general manager of Access Services, said the feedback was useful and will be taken into consideration as Metro prepares to rebid the deal.

“We got helpful feedback of observations now and perspectives on what people would like us to improve,” he said.

Kent said there were some compliments with some riders saying the service is more on time and more “user-friendly.”

But disabled riders on Metro’s system say they often face broken elevators, long waits for rides on the shuttle service, poor lighting and dilapidated station platforms.

A recent inspector general’s audit said revenue for MetroAccess and its reported ridership levels for fiscal 2010 were “not completely accurate.”

It went on to say that “certain revenue transactions were not always properly recorded or recognized” and ridership data was not “properly reconciled and summarized.”

As part of an agreement of a 2007 lawsuit, Metro agreed to provide two coupons for a free, one-way trip for each late or missed trip from June 2008 to August 2011. Metro provides one of the free trips and MV Transit provides the other.

The audit also found that Metro pays a “significant amount of the costs associated with free trips” when MV Transit is “late or misses a trip.” The IG said Metro paid out about $4.5 million in fiscal 2010 because of late or missed trips.

But Metro disagreed with some of the findings, saying the topic was “outside the scope of the audit” and it did not “concur that the free trip provision has resulted in poorer on-time performance.”

In negotiating its next contract for MetroAccess services, the agency said it intends to “establish more direct ties between compensation and performance.”

Cristina Spencer, a spokeswoman for MV Transit, did not have an immediate comment.

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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