Transit Workers, Disability Advocates Sound Alarm as WMATA Proposes Uber or Lyft as Paratransit Provider
A planned proposal from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to contract a successful alternative paratransit program to on-demand providers like Uber or Lyft has transit workers and disability advocates sounding the alarm. “United Spinal is deeply disappointed that WMATA has chosen to partner with Lyft, a service that has yet to provide an accessible option for wheelchair users,” said Carol Tyson, Director of Disability Policy for United Spinal Association, which last week joined the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Prince George's Advocates for Community-Based Transit, the Montgomery County Union Taxi Co-Operative, the AFL-CIO, and a growing list of co-signers on a letter expressing grave concerns about WMATA's proposal. ATU Locals 689 and 1764 represent more than 15,000 transit workers in the region, including MetroAccess employees. The proposal would "drive the whole system off the road and into a tree," said ATU president Larry Hanley. The coalition expressed its support for alternative paratransit service and called on WMATA “to ensure a gold standard for accessibility and working conditions for any company providing public transit services.” MetroAccess photo courtesy WMATA
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