Wednesday, December 7, 2016

US Election Assistance Commission wants to hear from you

Share your experience with access at the polls

Man in ADA shirt stands by a Vote Here sign

The EAC wants to hear from voters with disabilities about their experience on Election Day or during early voting. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is intended to ensure everyone can vote privately and independently. That means not only access to the polling locations, but have voting equipment that is accessible.

HAVA contained landmark provisions requiring the secure, private, and independent casting of ballots for voters with disabilities. During the past twelve years, the EAC has worked closely with election officials to promote these access requirements and to foster a climate of understanding in providing assistance for voters with disabilities. 

What was your visit to the polls like? The EAC is asking to hear about your experience, good or bad. The EAC looks forward to leading further initiatives that will improve accessibility and empower voters with disabilities.

Although they pride themselves on accessibility, the EAC only gives an email address to “listen” to your experience:

MCIL encourages you to participate, write your experience as a comment to this blog piece to let others know how you feel. If you don’t think email is accessible to you, MCIL staff will listen and send your comments along to the EAC; with your permission.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

General Help with MATAplus

How to file an effective complaint with MATAplus

MATA bus operator
By Timothy Redd and Bobbie Fields
Day in and out the phones constantly ring with people seeking transportation options.  MATAplus is not perfect, but it does not mean you should be silent. You can help MATAplus improve and work for other riders if you make suggestions and complaints about your experience on the bus.

This week MCIL wants to make sure you are able to exercise self-advocacy in transportation. If you find yourself with a grievance or suggestion for our partner MATAplus, we want you to review what will make an effective complaint. The information provided can be found in the MATAplus Rider’s Guide.  

If you have a suggestion, comment or a complaint use the following steps.
  1. Call a Customer Service Specialist at 522-9175.
  2. If you wish you can write: MATAplus 1370 Levee Road Memphis, TN 38108
  3. Provide specific details to help MATA thoroughly address your suggestions, complaints or comments. Please remember to include the following information if you can when calling or writing:
    • Your name, address, email and telephone number.
    • Location, date and time of experience.
    • Vehicle number and driver's name or badge number.
    • Reservation or service agent's name.
    • Explanation of incident, suggestion, or comment.
    • If at all possible report the concern or complaint the same day that it occurred while it is fresh on your mind.
  4. Complaints received by the Information Center Supervisor should be logged and numbered. MATA says the complaints will be processed and forwarded to the appropriate authorities for investigation.
  5. Keep a copy of your complaint so you may know if it was fully addressed by MATA or if they responded to the appropriate issue.
  6. MATA Customers should always ask for a complaint number. Write the complaint number down to track your complaint.
  7. For specific paratransit customer support services, you may contact either: Glenda Wade at 901-722-7196 or LaBarbara Houston at 901-722-7138
  8. You can also e-mail MATA at:
  9. Tell MCIL about your experience. Let us know good or bad how the suggestions to MATA go. It may help other riders and people with disabilities to know that they are not the only people having trouble. You may leave a comment on our Blog.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Apply to Advise MATA by Friday

MATA to select members of the Transit Advisory Committee

By Tim Wheat
MATA operator at the bus door
MATA is looking to riders to advise on system changes starting 2017. The Transportation Advisory Committee will work with MATA staff to provide feedback on the quality of MATA’s transit planning, service delivery, and operations.

MATA claims that people with disabilities will be on TAC and they will include MATAplus riders and explore ADA issues. The committee will be comprised of eleven members, and will meet at least four times a year. Each member will serve for a year, and will have an opportunity to re-apply to serve for a maximum of five terms.

TAC has no real authority and does not set regulations or policy. Volunteer TAC members will make recommendations to MATA staff for solutions to problems that are identified and acting as a sounding board for policies and plans.

MATA asks that to apply you should read the TAC Bylaws. The applications to MATA may be submitted in person or via US mail to MATA headquarters at: Memphis Area Transit Authority, Attn: TAC Application, 1370 Levee Rd. Memphis, TN 38108. Applications may also be submitted to the customer service desk at any of MATA’s three main transit centers during normal customer service hours, or via email to All applications must be submitted or postmarked no later than Friday, December 2, 2016.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Low-cost Internet

MCIL is aware of one program to help eligible households get low-cost web service.

By Michael Heinrich
AT&T is offering low-cost wireline home Internet service to qualifying households:
Michael Heinrich

  • With at least one resident who participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and
  • With an address in AT&T’s 21-state service area, at which we offer wireline home Internet service, and
  • Without outstanding debt for AT&T fixed Internet service within the last six months or outstanding debt incurred under this program.
Find out more at 

If you qualify, you will pay either $5 or $10 per month (depending on the speed available at your residence). The offer includes: 
  • No commitment, 
  • No deposit, 
  • No installation fee, 
  • In-home Wi-Fi gateway and access to the entire national AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot network, 
  • No equipment rental.
If the residence already has AT&T internet, you can still get the lower rate by switching to this program.

It appears that this offer is real. One friend of MCIL who met the qualifications and already had AT&T internet service made the switch and not only got cost savings but also a faster internet connection at the same time. Another friend of MCIL who did not have internet service at all signed up for the program. She verified that there was no charge for the installation and equipment and now has internet service in her home.