MATA Plus Riders Complain About Long Waits For Pick-Up

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(Memphis) Working at the Center for Independent Living, Josue Rodriguez hears plenty of complaints.

But this one he experienced  first hand, the problems with MATA Plus bus service.

"I have had instances where I have actually been picked up 3 hours late for an appointment which has made me real late for a meeting I have had to go to," says Josue Rodriguez, Community Organizer for the Memphis Center for Independent Living.

Viewers called and emailed News Channel 3 with similar claims, saying they waited hours for MATA Plus, after being told a designated pick up time.

MATA spokesperson Alison Burton says long waits are rare and they have not been flooded with complaints.

She says over the last two months MATA Plus had an 85 to 87 percent on-time pick up rate, but things like cancelled pick-ups and riders not being ready factor in.

But she says MATA is taking steps to improve that.

"We just put in a new phone system that's gonna give us better data, so we can know if there are calls abandoned, what time of day does that happen we can make a better decisions based on what our funding level is," says Burton.

Burton admits future service could suffer since the City of Memphis is proposing cutting MATA funding by 2 million dollars next year.

"What we provide  is the maximum of  what we can provide based on those funding cuts," says Burton.

That could hit riders who hope MATA takes some steps of its own.

"Utilizing more technology to improve the scheduling, better training their staff, some simple things, doing routes more efficiently," says MATA rider Christina Clift.

MATA's budget goes before a city council committee May 15.

MATA plus riders plan to be there.