Change to Metro Call-A-Ride service raised in public forum

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The changes to Metro Transit’s Call-A-Ride service have upset riders. Metro Transit said they were forced to downsize their service area due to staff shortages.

“Any Call-A-Ride users may need to go to one of the locations that are now locked down,” Jeanette Mott Oxford said. “Your world is getting smaller. It is drawing in the boundaries of your life.”

Many people came on Tuesday to express their concerns about the changes that will affect passengers who rely on the service every day.

“First is the approximately 250 people in the disability community who will be stranded,” said Elton Thomas. “The second thing I’m concerned about is how they describe this as improving customer service. I don’t see how customer service can be improved by cutting off a large part of the disability community.”

Currently, Metro Transit handles around 47,000 service calls per month for Call-A-Ride, but they are forced to turn down 16,000 calls each month due to staff shortages.

“Call-A-Ride, we are looking for 80 or more operators. MetroBus, we are looking for 200 operators,” said Charles Stewart, Metro Transit’s chief operating officer. “MetroLink we are missing about 20 operators. So that’s a big problem.”

He said they tried everything they could to recruit people through job fairs, even offering a $2,000 signing bonus.

“Things got better after the holiday season. So we’re looking forward to adding people this year,” Stewart said. “If that happens, maybe we can return to some of our regular service, which would bring Call-A-Ride’s service back as well.”

Mott Oxford and Thomas said improvements in technology could help recruit more operators and they hope things will change. Change to Metro Call-A-Ride service raised in public forum

Sarah Y. Kim

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