RICHMOND, Va. -- Getting his dialysis treatments on time is a matter of life and death for Joshua Smith.
“I had to catch an Uber to get here on Monday,” said Smith.
Smith relies on GRTC’s CARE Van service to get to and from his appointments.
He said the CARE Van is either late or sometimes doesn’t show up at all. In some instances, Smith said he’s on the van for up to 90 minutes.
Smith said he has serious concerns about the issues since he uses the service 3 days a week to attend 5 hours of dialysis.
If he’s late, the center requires Smith to sign a waiver explaining the consequences of missed time.
“Within a certain time, if we’re not here we can’t get on the machine,” he explained.
Smith complained to GRTC’s CARE Van provider - First Transit - about his late pick up times.
He said the dispatcher told him they were sorry and would try to do better, but Smith said he hasn’t seen enough progress so he called CBS 6 Problem Solvers.
CBS 6 took Smith’s concerns to GRTC’s spokesperson Carrie Rose Pace.
"The performance has absolutely improved, picking up people on time, reducing wait times when you are on the phone trying to make reservations,” said Rose Pace. “All of that has been significantly improved since late April when First Transit took over the emergency contract.”
After reviewing Smith's case, Rose Pace says his 15 to 30 minute pick up time has been on time.
"If you have a standing appointment which means that it's the same pick up time every day from the same location and it's not working out for you or your schedule. That's easy. Just call the CARE Customer service center and they'll adjust your pick up window with your standing reservation,” said Rose Pace.
GRTC launched a new service recently called CARE on Demand which allows riders a direct non-stop service to and from their destination. If you need to reach GRTC’s Care on Demand, call 804-499-3400.
The cost is $6 per trip and GRTC will pay an additional $15 for that service.
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