RICHMOND, Va. – A service provider contracted by GRTC was terminated by the governing board of the transit system, after months of complaints from passengers.
In a special Board of Directors meeting Wednesday morning, GRTC’s Board voted to award a paratransit services contract to First Transit, Inc., effective Sunday, April 30, 2017.
Notification was also sent to MV Contract Transportation, Inc. to discontinue GRTC’s paratransit services contract with MV effective Saturday, April 29, 2017.
CARE and C-VAN are specialized transportation services that have been provided by MV on behalf of GRTC since Dec. 2014. These vans provide door-to-door transportation to the elderly and the disability community who qualify based on Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
In recent months passenger dependent on CARE vans have voiced concerns about tardiness and inconsistencies in service.
“They’ve been like this for years,” said Mornica Dabney, who was recently interviewed by CBS 6 after she was late to work over transportation issues.
In an effort to improve service, GRTC provided MV Transportation with thirteen new vehicles in March.
Though the company is recruiting drivers, MV Transportation spokesperson Nikki Frenney noted there is significant driver turnover, due to low pay and high levels of responsibility. She said last week that the company short more than a dozen drivers.
In February, after a CARE Advisory Committee Meeting where passengers echoed the same sentiments, Frenney also said they were short of drivers – and cited the same reason.
"Drivers currently employed by MV are eligible to apply for their same job with First Transit now," said communication director Carrie Rose Pace. "These employees provide a crucial service to the communities we serve, and GRTC is committed to ensuring the drivers have every opportunity to transition from driving for MV to First Transit without interruption."
First Transit has committed to providing enough drivers to complete 1,100 to 1,200 trips daily, Rose Pace said.
CARE and C-VAN customers can still book trips through the same methods, but GRTC officials said that the new email address for reservations, effective April 30, 2017 will be "firstname.lastname@example.org".
First Transit will take over the existing contract, which expires on Nov. 30, 2017. GRTC is preparing to solicit proposals for a new contract effective Dec.1, 2017, Rose Pace said.