October 30, 2010

NEWS: VIA Trans Leaves Elderly Blind Woman Stranded

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - October 28, 2010 - In the following news story from KENS-TV: Elderly Blind Woman's Family Blames VIA for Leaving Her Stranded on Sidewalk, a blind 79 year old woman describes her 2 hour ordeal after being left unattended on the sidewalk in front of her San Antonio home by VIA Trans. VIA Trans Van Service is a private company contracted to provide paratransit for VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA classifies this client's service as "Curb-to Curb". The representative from VIA stated that the client's caregivers/family were informed in September that they could choose a "door-to-door or do not leave alone" service option instead, but VIA had not received any request for change.

On pages 18-19 of the most recent online edition of VIA's Accessible Service Customer Guide (Dec. 2008) these "Premium Service" options are described in detail. For "Door-to-Door" service, operator assistance is provided "only for manual wheelchair-dependent passengers who cannot independently get to or from the VIAtrans vehicle when no able-bodied party is at home to assist them" (page 19 - Door-To-Door Operator Assistance). As well, (although this is technically in reference to "able-bodied" visually impaired clients), drivers are to ensure that visually impaired clients are assisted to their door if no one is at home to meet them. (page 19 - Mobility Assistance for Visually Impaired).

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