Instead, they forward those complaints on to the private vendors the customers complained about in the first place, relying on the very companies that provided the shoddy service to come up with a fix.
According to the comptroller, the MTA doesn't keep records on whether or not employees followed up on the complaints, so can never be sure that issues related to delays, safety or rude drivers are ever addressed and solutions found.
In one case, a rider alleged that the driver was an hour late, and then drove 80 miles per hour in a 40-mph zone, swerving in and out of traffic, to make up for the lost time. The MTA had no evidence that anyone ever followed up.
It's nearly impossible for the MTA to guarantee that Access-A-Ride service is going to be 100 percent on time; there are way too many factors out of agency and driver control. Those include unpredictable traffic (especially these days) and that day's schedule of riders, which could be scattered across the city.
We have been at meetings between seniors and city agencies and hear numerous complaints about the service, but also hear those same seniors begrudgingly admit that without Access-A-Ride, many of them would be homebound, unable to get to doctor's appointments or other important events.
It's a valuable service, and just because perfection is likely unattainable doesn't mean the effort shouldn't be there.
The MTA is not going to be able to solve all of the issues with Access-A-Ride, but at the very least it should be following up on valid complaints and doing its best to resolve the more glaring issues, especially as they relate to safety or extreme lateness.
Some of the city's most vulnerable residents demand nothing less.