Woman with cerebral palsy says GRTC Care van left her stranded

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Henrico woman reached out to CBS6 Problem Solvers after she spent several hours waiting for new ride to get her home

Chanel Harris, 27, has been using GRTC Care Van since 2008.

She has cerebral palsy and relies on the service to get around.

A few weeks back, on October 6, Chanel says she requested a Care Van take her to her doctor's appointment at Stoney Point Medical Center but she says she had a bad experience after she was delayed by a few minutes.

“I wasn't ready and I asked her could you wait five more minutes, I have to go upstairs and get my blood work done and she just left me,” Harris said.

She and her mom ended up waiting for several hours until another van was available to pick them up and take them home.

“It was like five hours, what's going on with the care van, I just got a little frustrated and heated,” her mom, Christine Harris, said.

GRTC spokeswoman, Carrie Rose Pace said the company's policy states customers have to be ready to be picked up during their 30-minute pick up window. Drivers are only allowed to wait five minutes for a customer if they are not at the stop, but after that-- they have to stick to the schedule.

“If a Care Van arrives and you're not ready the Care van will wait for five minutes they will attempt to reach you as a courtesy call,” Rose said.

However, Rose tells CBS 6 that there’s a new program that started in August that gives customers more flexibility. The new service is called, “Care on Demand” and allows riders a direct non-stop service to and from their destination.

The service is $6 to customers in Richmond and Henrico and it must be paid with a credit or debit card.

Just Monday afternoon, GRTC signed a new contract with CARE service provider First Transit, Inc. The deal will take effect on December 1, 2017.  Back in September the board of directors voted to authorize to give para transit services contract to First Transit, Inc.