The Monthly MATAplus run down
By Bobbie Fields
The members of the Memphis Specialized Transportation Advisory Committee met with representatives of MATAplus regarding their performance rate and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically the ADA rule of communication and supplying materials in an alternate format for MATA riders. Ms. LaBarbara Houston and Ms. Glenda Wade said MATA now has the Rider’s Guide in braille, large print, and audio available upon request. You can find it on the MATA website as well. MATAplus is teaming up with MTAC to work on how the application process is being handle when it comes to a professional signing off on it.
The application on-line asks potential MATAplus riders if they can “climb three ten-foot steps.” The confusion is because the application question is abbreviated: 10’ when they intended to write 10” the abbreviation for ten inches. But the real frustration is that this simple mistake was pointed out to MATA over a year ago. The additional irony is that the application asks, in all caps and highlighted: DO NOT USE ABBREVIATIONS OR CODES. See the MATAplus application for yourself at: http://www.matatransit.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/MATAplus%20Application%202014.pdf
Ms. Wade made the comment that MATAplus is operating at a 90% on time rate and booking about 700 trips a day. If you are a rider of MATAplus and you are late for your appointment, you can call dispatch and ask to be put on “Will Call.” Will call simply means that you will call MATA when you’re ready to be picked up. You should also know that it might take at least an hour or more before you are picked up.
Ms. Houston said as of November 1, 2016 they have started to offer travel training to anyone who asks for it. They are also in the process of getting some more buses and hiring new drivers.
Even though MATA is trying to make changes in the way they handle business; the MATAplus riders feel they are still not meeting the needs of the disabled community. Buses are still “running down,” MATA terminology for running late for the names on their manifest, more than an hour. Some riders MATAplus doesn't pick-up at all. Despite all the problems with MATA they are still the best paratransit system that Memphis has to offer. If you want to know more about MATAplus just visit their website: www.matatransit.com.