MetroAccess riders, drivers join forces to voice their complaints

ADELPHI, Md. — Disabled riders and MetroAccess drivers have joined hands to complain about the transit service that they say could use a lot of improvement.

Both riders and drivers complain that they are victimized by poor service, and they gathered together at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church on Friday to air their complaints.

“It’s totally unreliable, totally unreliable … I have been abandoned more times than you can imagine,” says Gloria Jones Swieringa of Fort Washington, who is blind.

Unionized drivers, who are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, say that dispatchers don’t welcome their input, that the policy of collecting fares outside the vehicle is unsafe and low driver pay produces high turnover rates.

“We need to make changes as far as the drivers, clients, the dispatchers, it needs to be a better service,” says Genoa Greene, a MetroAccess driver for the past eight years.

The complaints have drawn the attention of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

“[I’m] very much concerned,” he says. “It was part of our budget hearing and so we want to hear what the problem is. I know a lot about people with disabilities trying to get back and forth so it’s a big concern of mine.”

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