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MetroAccess

Page history last edited by jerry 13 years, 3 months ago

MetroAccess

 


 

Introduction

MetroAccess is the paratransit service of Metro, the regional bus aka MetroBus, rail aka MetroRail, etc service run by WMATA (Washington Metro Area Transit Authority).

Recent complaints and news reports/ investigations, law suits, etc have resulted in a new contractor MV Transportation, the largest paratransit company in the nation? and other contractors and subcontractors like Diamond Transportaion and TaxiCabs..

 

LogistiCare? used to run the main contract and subs to TaxiCabs?

 

Limitations

 

Limited Region

 

The MetroAccess region is currently defined to exclude Prince William and Loudoun counties. What ParaTransit is available in those areas needs to be researched, and/or contributed by our readers/community...

 

Application Process

 

The application process requires a form with doctor's signature and a FunctionalAssessment.

There is currently no test for psychiatric disabilities as of yet, but is rumored to be in development, though possibly currently adminstered by a mostly physical disability contractor...

 

Minimal eligibility is 3 months, so short term needs are not met, for example after an injury, one is stuck at the most needy times...

Perhaps, a short term temporary status until Assessed could be added?

Maximum time is 2-3 years for permanent disabilities, requiring continual and stressful reassessments.

 

People visiting the metro area, who are paratransit eligible, can get up to 21 days per year of service for example visiting the Nation's Capital.

 

 

Fixed Schedule

 

MetroAccess is a fixed schedule service. Unlike the fixed route services (MetroBus, MetroRail, etc) which limits where you can go along the routes defined, the fixed schedule gives no flexibility as far as going out after something like meetings and/or social events, changing plans, etc. While most others can have flexibility of coming and going as they please, not for this form of ParaTransit... Kind of like Housing, where in (one of) the definition(s) of Homeless is 'can come and go as you wish' like any 'normal'/'rich' person...

This compounds the already isolated nature of most disabilies...

 

Unlike trains and/or buses, "I'll get the next one", is not an option with MetroAccess. Cancelling within 2 hours ahead or just going home (on one preplanned existing trip) instead is possible, perhaps giving a disabled person the option of just going home tired/ sick, etc...  Dialysis patients and others can get tired and may be at risk of infection from low energy?  (Citation required)

 

Recurring schedules can be created for routine trips like to work, dialysis, etc. This eliminates some of the drudgery of adding each address and getting a 30 min window for each, and making reservations for everything 24 hours in advance...

 

Minimum Stopovers

 

Each trip leg requires a 1 hour stopover, so stopping for picking up drycleaning, checking mail/package delivery/etc or a short errands with this service is not helpful...

 A TaxiCab for example just runs the meter for a bit while you run/roll in...

 

Costs

 

Cost is a factor with this service. While comparing to cab fares of 10x more, it is not much, but calculating 2.50+ per leg of a multileg trip adds up rapidly, especially for limited and fixed income disabled... There is no transfer like buses nor rail...

 

 

Shared Ride

 

You may not be alone on your ride(s). To keep the cost down, rides are not just you and you have no say in it...  It also means someone you may not know nor like is not at the local bus stop but your front door...

In taxicabs or presumably limos/ airport shuttle services, you would choose to double up, or go in a group to save money...

 

Missing Rides

 

A Cell phone (with significant airtime) or fixed location with phone appears to be required to make reservations, locate missing rides and checking on status...

Supposedly, if not picked within a certain time, you can get a coupon or similar or a free next ride mailed to you... Addendum: replaced with an online credit system that updates about once a month for the previous months late rides.  Rides are not exponential to the late time.  If 2-3 hours late, only one free ride, no matter how inconvenient nor dangerous to you, the passenger and customer...

 

However, if the client/ customer misses rides, then they are threatened and actually suspended or removed from the service.  Riders have 5 minutes at most to appear, while drivers get a 30 minute window, scheduled ahead of time.  It just doesn't seem fair...

 

 

Environmental

 

Unlike some MetroBuses which are CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) or other alternative fuels, these are stock vans modified with wheelchair lifts on the side, school bus type right front door, but still using regular fuel contributing to polution...

An opportunity to create an accessible hybrid or alternative fuel fleet of small public transit vehicles, remains...  And the public buses have motor pools/ maintenance crews that might help transfer the technical skills to the paratransit system...

 

 

 

Curb to Curb

 

Ironically called curb to curb (which are some of the main barriers to wheelchairs), MetroAccess does not (yet but proposed) do door to door. SINCE IMPLEMENTED. While drivers may help with some limited packages (like groceries), they will not find you or enter in a building to pickup.

 

 

Governance

 

A Riders Advisory Council and other disabled groups allows limited volunteers to advise the 300+ vehicle MetroAccess system.

 

Technology

 

GPS and tasking like on TaxiCabs help newer drivers locate addresses, though limitations of GPS route planning are straight line approximate not taking into account the fastest route, just a computer guess of the shortest path.

Called a Ranger, or nagging wite, she has a British like accent and says things like "proceed around the roundabout" (i.e. traffic circle).  The Ranger is bad at construction projects like the Mixing Bowl and Wilson Bridge and presumably others where the database/ GIS is not updated. 

 

The Ranger knows nothing about traffic patterns and frequently tries to cut through complex neighborhoods instead of staying on major roads.

 

 

Future Tech

 

WMATA website mentions possible new website features:

Make a reservation online (coming Spring 2007) IMPLEMENTED and nice when working, eliminating some wait time and interpersonal conflicts with the occasionally nasty reservationists.

Confirm or cancel a trip online (coming Spring 2007) IMPLEMENTED but doesn't always work.

 

At least the first is anxiously awaited, and possibly suggested, enabling a printed receipt option, even though several others may have done so before... IMPLEMENTED the online EZPay system, where fares and credits for late rides are electronically done from Credit or Debit Card, though not sure about smarttrip cards and employer benefits plans

 

 

Cameras

 

Surveillance or Security Cameras were installed on the new contractor's vehicles and radios were removed due to complaints.

Cameras are in some MetroBuses, and inside all Rail stations, but would likely cause severe problems for some of our people with psychiatric disabilities, as well as giving addresses and times, almost like reporting all your private information for the use of a ride...

 

Positives

 

It's an ADA thing...

 

For people with no other option, you might get from Point A to Point B.  Probably best use is for those going from home to work and back, possibly enabling work for those who might not otherwise be able to.

 

It can be much faster than 2+ buses & 3 rails for long trips with 30 mins to 1 hour layover times at each transfer point.

 

Less problems with Gangs and other problems especially late at night in bad areas...

 

Despite the DrivingMrDaisy scenerio, most drivers have been polite, helpful and kind.  Some are even cute ;-}

 

Most rides have been near the time window of 1/2 hour (+/- 15 mins) and they supposedly call you when there, giving 10  5 mins, at most, to appear for the ride.

 

See Future Tech above

 

A good example for learning towards a peer transit system, especially in Loudoun and Prince William counties where MetroAccess doesn't run and for underserved areas in other counties and cities as well...

 

Links

 

A good guide to accessibility including almost all options in the area...

http://www.wmata.com/accessibility/Accessible_Transportation_Options.pdf

 

Newsletters

http://www.wmata.com/metroaccess/macs_newsletter3.pdf

http://www.wmata.com/metroaccess/macs_newsletter2.pdf

http://www.wmata.com/metroaccess/macs_newsletter1.pdf

 

A newsletter appears to have been started with the recent changes...

See the wmata website for at least 3 issues communicating to users of the system.

One senior level manager / executive is from the FFX Fastrans service...

 

Invalid links

www.wmata.com/accessibility

[ http://www.metroaccess.com/ ]

Direct links into a CFM Coldfusion website is difficult as long URLs are used. PBWiki isn't that much better unless getting rid of spaces and using CamelCase like in RecoveryApplication, etc...

 

Page History

20090621 Jerry updating new programs and adding some info and impressions.

20070319 Jerry editing , reorganzing and adding Positives

20070317 Jerry recreating the page with new information based on experience

200609xx whom Doug? page created with a bad link

 

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