Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cap Metro Power Play Fails

Howdy Comrades!

The newly constituted Access Advisory Committee fought a recent power play by Special Transit officials.  Access members began to get calls from STS users complaining that Metro was forcing them to accept trips at least two hours prior to their appointment times.  In the past, the same trips were provided as late as one hour prior to the appointment.  Consequently, STS users began arriving at their destinations long before buildings even opened.  In one instance, an elderly woman in a wheelchair was required to accept a ride at 5:50 AM in order to get to a medical appointment scheduled at eight o’clock that morning.  The STS vehicle delivered her at her destination at approximately 6:30 AM, and she was unable to enter the building because all doors were locked.  Her medical condition caused her to soil herself about thirty minutes before anyone working at the office arrived to assist her.  A flurry of email between Access members and STS officials ensued.  Metro contended that scheduling was a purely administrative matter totally outside the authority of Access to review, much less approve. 

The blind and disabled communities in Austin were in full revolt, and Access was able to get the “guideline” rescinded.  We can view this as a victory of substance over semantics.  I warn readers, however, that this was just the initial test by Metro of the resolve and effectiveness of the new Access Committee.  Expect Metro staff to have many more tricks up their sleeves.


Chairman Mal

Power to the Peeps!