Last year, the COTA/Mainstream program completed more than 287,000 for people who qualify for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Unlike COTA’s fixed-route service, Mainstream is a complementary demand-response, shared-ride public transportation. Once a passenger schedules a pick-up time, drivers are required to respond within a 30-minute window.
According to COTA, it’s on-time performance was more than 96%, but a group of visually impaired riders contacted Better Call Jackson because they feel the service is not living up to its claims.
Cindy Gamble is visually impaired and works 10-hour shifts.
“I get picked up at 9:45 in the morning to go to work at 9:40 at night to come home and I thought that would be better because I’m on subscription but it wasn’t helpful and I’m still late for work,” says Gamble.
Mike Leiterman shares a similar story from last summer when the weather was extremely hot.
“Was at the doctors office that promptly closed at 5, my pickup was supposed to be at 4:50 they showed up to get me at 6:20. So, very much health-related, not just the logistical factor or going from point a to point b, but everything in between”, says Leiterman.
Better Call Jackson took their concerns to Marty Stutz, who is the Vice President of Communications, Marketing and Customer Service for COTA.
“In cases where we are late or that service was not delivered to our satisfaction or to the customer’s satisfaction, we’ll figure out how we can assure that the next time, we don’t run into those kinds of issues”, said Stutz.
COTA did not have records of all of the complaints we heard but, they did have records of one rider who complained of late times, parking and alleged property damage.
“They investigated. Three of four late complaints were valid so they did, the arrival time did fall out of the window, we were late, the parking and building scrape complaints were found to be in invalid”, says Stutz.
He goes on to say, COTA cannot address problems unless they are reported. Communication on both sides if vital for the program to operate at a successful rate. Riders should call Mainstream at least two hours prior to cancel appointments. Doing so can impact the arrival time for other riders and save money as each trip costs COTA, $33.00.
All fixed-route passengers and Mainstream passengers are encouraged to address their concerns at 614-228-1776.