Big problems for disabled riders counting on transportation - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Big problems for disabled riders counting on transportation

Advocates for the disabled say a change in a local transportation program caused some big problems Tuesday.

But state officials see only a few glitches as a new coordinator begins overseeing the transportation needs of the mentally and physically disabled.  Several organizations who serve disabled citizens confirmed many had problems getting where they needed to go on Tuesday.

The question is: is this just a one-day adjustment period as a new transporation coordinator takes over?

Allison Lee and other case workers for the disabled scrambled to arrange transportation for clients when their rides to medical appointments and adult daycare did not show up:  "I had 16. I sent in paperwork. Nine were not transported. Two are still sitting at home....I don't think the state DOT, Medicaid, the broker were prepared for today."

Federated Transporation, a Lexington-based company, won the contract to coordinate Louisville disabled transportation months ago.

Last month, Fox 41's Dick Irby reported private companies who actually make the pickups were worried Federated was not moving quickly enough to sign them up and avoid service disruptions on Tuesday's change-over date.

Rev. James Cuff of Greater Harvest Transportation explains he received, "Several calls this morning from a lot of personal clients that haven't been picked up. They are not on time. They want to know what is happening."

At Greater Harvest, employees could not help regular customers.  Vehicles were sitting idle because it was not until Monday the the company was finally contacted about continuing service with Federated.

The state Transportation Cabinet says "glitches" are expected when one broker takes over for another.  But, overall, it feels things went smoothly in the Louisville area.  But at the Apple Patch and other adult daycares, some clients were there only because workers were able to go get them."

Allison Lee says, "When I contacted my families and participants, they choose to get an alternative way to the program or just stay home and hope it gets better tomorrow."

Federated Transporation has a good track record in Lexington.

But some worry it will have to make big adjustments to adequately serve the disabled in Louisville.  It's a much larger region, generating more than two thousand ride requests a day.

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