Resolution 2019-01 : Regarding MTA Mobility

WHEREAS, much of the blind community in Maryland that cannot use fixed-route public transit services relies heavily on the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Mobility service to integrate into the community, commute to school and jobs, attend medical appointments, purchase food and other necessities, and attend religious services and other social gatherings; and

WHEREAS, in the Spring of 2019, the MTA Mobility Program experienced programmatic changes that were catastrophic to its users, resulting in missed medical appointments, dialysis, and medications; and

WHEREAS, clients were required to wait in unsafe conditions such as in inclement weather including lightning for four hours or more for transportation, and

WHEREAS, clients were often unable to obtain correct, useful, or effective communication from the Mobility Call Center; and

WHEREAS, MTA operates a Taxi Access Program that is intended to alleviate some of the burden on its prescheduled MTA Mobility van drivers and to create flexibility for clients; and

WHEREAS, taxi companies who participate in the Taxi Access program are not transparent, responsive, or effective, rendering this program in need of major overall; and

WHEREAS, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft provide transportation services in states such as California, Illinois, and New York much like the Maryland Taxi Access Program, giving clients instant access to vehicles, the ability to communicate directly with drivers, and an overall reduction in wait time for transportation services; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED in Convention assembled this ninth day of November 2019 in the City of Baltimore, Maryland that this organization urge the Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to establish safeguards and backup measures to prevent a recurrence of the devastating service breakdown that occurred in the Spring of 2019; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization urge the MTA to expand the Taxi Access Program to include rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.