The New Year is bringing new changes for the Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA) Mobility Paratransit service, including a revised origin-to-destination service, revised no-show policy and travel training for those customers that would like to use MTA's regular fixed-route service.
"We decided to implement these modifications due to growing demand and customer expectations," says Cheron Victoria Wicker, a spokesperson at the MTA. "We have seen such a tremendous growth in our mobility service."
The MTA introduced two major changes: upgrading its curb-to-curb service to door-to-door service, which will include escorting the customer and assisting them with packages of 20 pounds or less, and greater enforcement of its no-show policy to discourage customers from scheduling a trip and then not meeting the vehicle at the designated location and time.
"The current policy establishes a no-show if the passenger is not ready within five minutes of the arrival of the vehicle" says Wicker of the changes to the policy. "Now, for customers that do that on a frequent basis, their service will be suspended after they've been properly notified and warned."
For customers who want to expand their ability to travel and have more options, the MTA is also offering travel training for its local bus, light rail and metro subway systems.
"This program will cover all aspects of fixed-route service including how to read service finding stops, and entering and exiting the vehicles," says Wicker. "It will increase their flexibility and give them the opportunity to travel more spontaneously."
Wicker adds that the program is voluntary and, even if they do successfully complete the training, it will not have any impact on the customers' mobility status.
This January, MTA is holding several "Mobility Town Hall Meetings" to reach out to its customers and make them aware of what they could expect. To this point, Wicker says that feedback has been positive.
The MTA's Mobility Paratransit service currently 390 vehicles that make up to 28,000 one-way trips per week.