Scheduling mistake kept man with autism on Metro Access van for 5 hours

WASHINGTON — Metro is apologizing after a Silver Spring man spent almost five hours on a Metro Access van Thursday.

“This was absolutely inhumane and inexcusable,” said Linda Mendoza of Silver Spring, whose son was the man stuck on the van.

The afternoon began as it normally did for Sean Bailey Page, 23, who has autism. He got onto a van at the South Bowie library at 2:45 p.m. and waited to be dropped off at his home in northeast Silver Spring.

It was shortly after 5 p.m. when Page’s mother began to get concerned because her son had not yet arrived home. She called Metro Access and was told he was safe and would be dropped off soon. But after a half-hour of waiting she called again demanding to know where her son was.

“I explained he has autism, he has been on the van for over three hours,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said she tried to get her son’s location so she could pick him up herself but the representative on the phone said that was not an option.

Mendoza said the family’s home is four miles from the Howard County border but for some reason the van was routed through downtown Washington, D.C. and her son waited as many more stops were made.

Finally, at 7:35 p.m., Mendoza said the van pulled in front of her home with her son inside.

She said when he emerged, he was tired, hot and his shirt was soaked in perspiration.

“Why was my son not even given a lousy drink of water for four hours and fifty minutes, not to mention a bathroom break,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza called what happened to her son an atrocity.

“I was there a long time but I am free at last,” Page said about his experience in the van.

In an email, Metro spokesman Morgan Dye said Metro apologizes to Page for what she called an “unacceptable experience.”

Dye said a scheduling mistake, made by the contractor which operates the vans for MetroAccess, resulted in the excessive trip time.

When it comes to any punishment for the contractor or van driver, Dye only said appropriate follow-up action will be taken once an investigation is complete.

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