NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A man with disabilities said he is tired of the transit system showing up late or not at all when he needs them the most.
When 29-year-old Matthew Studer looks out on his balcony, he hopes that the WeGo Public Transit Access Ride Shuttle Bus will show up to take him to work.
“They don’t show up here and always put down there’s a phone number, and sometimes I’m told ‘Hey they don’t have a phone number.’ I’ve been told by an operator they don’t have a cell phone. It’s like, a driver without a cell phone that is supposed to call me? How does that work?”
Studer relies on Access Ride to get to his classes and to work. His condition makes it a necessity, not a choice.
“I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high functioning form of Autism. I have Type II bipolar, I have syncope spells, which means I pass out regularly, and sometimes, the spells turn into seizures,” Studer said.
Since November 2018, Studer said he’s complained and emailed WeGo Transit at least 20 times. He pays $3.40 when he uses the service.
When they show up late or not at all, he’s forced to use a rideshare service, which can cost him about $22 to $28 just to go to his job and college.
“The reason I’m turning to News4 is because I know I’m not the only person getting hurt by this,” Studer said.
News 4 contacted WeGo Transit officials. The agency told News4 that Studer has filed 18 complaints since January regarding on time performance. WeGo said it has closed out all but three of the complaints, with those three pending further investigation. WeGo plans on working to identify and address the issue about his experience.
Studer hopes that’s true because all of the work he puts into his life seems like it gets swept away every time the ride doesn’t show up at his doorstep.
Here is the full statement provided by WeGo Transit.
Specific to Studer's complaint:
"What I was able to find is that our records show that since Jan. 1, 2019, Mr. Studer has filed 18 complaints regarding the on time performance of our overflow service providers, and our Access Scheduling staff has closed out all but 3 of those complaints to date, with those remaining 3 pending further investigation so we can better identify and address the issue contributing to his experience."
General background on our Access paratransit service:
"We provided over 1,212 rides for Access passengers per day in the past fiscal year. At peak periods, we can have around 100 vehicles on the road completing trips between WeGo and our third-party overflow providers. And WeGo itself has approximately 80 full time Access operators and many more part-time operators to help provide these essential services. As such, we are continually monitoring our performance as well as the that provided by our overflow contractors for opportunities to improve and make our paratransit service more effective.
"Internally, in addition to tracking overall performance, we review daily reports of the on-time performance of our routes for the previous day. When we see poor performance, we investigate further to see what the issue was (traffic, vehicle-related, operator error, scheduling, etc) and how we can address it. We have been testing new tools to give schedulers and dispatchers better access to information same-day, so we can respond to disruptions proactively rather than reactively - this is for both our core Access service, as well as the overflow service that helps our paratransit customers get where they need to go.
"And we also have Access-on-Demand, which is a same day, Uber-like service with direct point-to-point trip making where customers can request a trip up to 2 hours in advance instead of 24 hours in advance, which is required with our traditional Access services."