CLEVELAND-- For the second time in weeks, the FOX 8 I-Team found a blind woman stranded by RTA, so we’re investigating what’s being done to fix the system.
A blind woman named Sandy told us she’d been left waiting for an RTA Paratransit bus for more than an hour. Then she waited on hold to get through to RTA for nearly an hour and a half.
This comes weeks after we introduced you to another blind woman left waiting for an RTA Paratransit bus on a corner with a grandchild until well after dark. She, too, couldn’t get through to RTA, and she ended up calling the police.
The I-Team requested RTA dispatch recordings and when Sandy finally got through, she can be heard saying, “Nobody came to get me. I have been on this call for an hour."
The recording shows a dispatcher called the driver to find out where he was.
"Oh, wow. You know what? I didn't put her down," he said.
He forgot her.
The I-Team went to RTA headquarters to ask what`s being done about this problem. The local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind said other riders have been left stranded, too. The organization said it has met with RTA leaders asking to have something done and done now.
We asked an RTA spokesperson to outline what corrective steps are being taken, and how long will it take to fix this?
"You know, Ed, this is not acceptable," said RTA spokeswoman Linda Krecic. She added RTA knows it has to do better, and the agency is working on it.
"It’s ongoing. It’s not being solved overnight because there are many levels to it. It’s a complex issue. We have a new communications system that will be implemented by the end of the year. And, we hope by October," Krecic said.
“We can’t just keep waiting.”
She said she has had many good experiences with Paratransit, yet she also worries if she will get stranded again.
RTA points out the Paratransit serves 600,000 riders a year, and only a tiny fraction end up lodging complaints.
Nonetheless, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind also plans to keep monitoring all of this closely.