Settlement reached in class action lawsuit alleging MTA could not accommodate passengers with disabilities. It promises to change for the better.
In the settlement agreement, announced Tuesday, the transportation company has been ordered to overhaul its service and hire independent consultants to review all changes made over the next three years. The third party oversight alone is projected to cost the Maryland Transit Administration up to $160,000, but will be the most efficient way to determine whether or not someone is qualified to use the service and whether the MTA is making customer service a priority. The settlement will allow for the MTA to be a safer and more reliable over all, making sure those with illnesses or disabilities are being properly helped.
The Maryland Transit Administration has been very cooperative with the proposed changes and has already begun to make some needed adjustments. Some improvements that are currently underway include those made to telephone reservations for individuals with disabilities and a more seamless certification workflow within the transit’s call center as well as increased performance reliability with more accurate and consistent arrival and departure times for all passengers.
New specific quality assurance metrics have been put into place, and the consultants will continue to review compliance with these measurements and offer suggestions for improvement as necessary. Part of the program includes processing applications and confirming certification within 10 days of receiving them. If applicants do not receive a response within three weeks, they will be able to utilize the MTA until they have. Eligibility assessments will be completed on the same day as the MTA calls to schedule interviews. Anyone denied service will be “given a second chance” and asked to submit more information as needed for potential reconsideration. The forms available for appeals have been adjusted to provide greater protection against applicants being unjustifiably denied. Passengers are cautiously optimistic that the restructuring will bring about positive changes.