Monday, April 30, 2018

Metro Access update: Got complaints? Contact the King County Ombuds

Last year, King  County audited Metro Access, and the the findings were blistering, with half the riders surveyed saying they are dissatisfied with travel times. The audit found that since 2008 the number of rides have gone down, trips have become longer and costs have increased. The audit outlined steps the county could take and flagged a new contract with service providers, starting in 2018, as a unique opportunity to make changes to paratransit service.

What has happened in 10 months?

The contract bidding process was delayed to address concerns and a consumer work group was continued. But beyond that, not much has changed, say some advocates, who remain concerned that the new contract won't address longstanding issues. Last year, Metro posted a blog detailing steps it had already taken to address audit findings and set a timeline to act on others. Now, King County is asking people who still have complaints to contact the King County Ombuds, and not just Metro's customer service.

(Failure to resolve issues through customer service is one of the longstanding complaints about Metro Access.)

You can read more about steps Metro says it is taking on its blog. Please note the blog post is dated June 13, 2017. If you are experiencing any of the issues that should have been resolved (such as travel times), please contact the King County Ombuds, 206.477.1050,

New governance: Mobility Committee 

The Metropolitan King County Council, meanwhile, is establishing a Mobility Committee, which among other charges will review Access. This spring and summer, the committee will be briefed on the Access paratransit work group. If you are interested in transportation advocacy, this is the county committee to track.

The Mobility Committee is meeting Wednesday, May 2, at 1:30 pm and will adopt its work plan for the year. If you would like to testify, please sign in at 1 pm.

Meeting location:
1200 King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Room 1001

Committee members: Claudia Balducci, Chair; Kathy Lambert, Vice Chair; Reagan Dunn; Jeanne Kohl-Welles; and Joe McDermott.

You can review the May 3 meeting packet here.