Changes for Cap Metro's Disabled Riders?

Cap Metro announces more cost-cutting proposals

Capital Metro's attempts to cut costs and streamline services are leaving no customers untouched, including those with disabilities. The agency has announced proposed policy changes for MetroAccess (formerly known as Special Transit Services), its service that caters to customers with special needs. Four changes were suggested by Cap Metro staff:

Any customer with too many no-shows would get slapped with a four-day suspension of service (the no-shows would have to be equal to the greater of 10% of their scheduled trips or four times a month). Currently, the penalty is $1.40 for each no-show over four in a month, with suspension following if payment is not made.

Trips could no longer be scheduled eight days in advance; the earliest allowed would be six days ahead.

Call center hours, currently 7am-9pm on weekdays and 7am-7pm on weekends, would be reduced to 7am-7pm and 8am-5pm, respectively, but with increased staffing during peak hours.

The current pickup window is 15 minutes after the scheduled time of a ride; the new window would require riders to be ready up to 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after the scheduled time, to allow more flexibility for the vehicles within each day's schedule.

At a recent input forum held at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center in North Central Austin, participants seemed fine with most of the changes except the increased pickup window. "That's a half-hour just wasted for me," one attendee said. Before the proposals can be enacted, they will have to be discussed at a yet to be scheduled public hearing before the Capital Metro board of directors takes a final vote, most likely at its Sept. 28 meeting.

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