I-Team: Commission Meets To Discuss MBTA’s ‘The Ride’ Program

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – For Ann Gaulrapp, the MBTA’s door-to-door transit service is more than just a ride, it’s the only way she can get to much needed cancer treatment in Weymouth.

She doesn’t feel well enough to drive after her radiation treatments.

“I can’t imagine what I would do without it,” said Gaulrapp.

But, the i-Team discovered thousands of dollars in waste in the program that’s breaking the MBTA’s budget, costing taxpayers $90 million last year.

A special commission appointed by the Governor after the i-Team’s report met at the Statehouse to try to drive down costs and improve service.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports.

Secretary and CEO of Transportation Jeffery Mullan is co-chair of the commission.

“Demand keeps growing, costs rise, resources remain limited,” said Mullan.

The i-Team found it’s a system susceptible to abuse and rampant with waste. The RIDE is touted as a shared-ride system, but most of the time we followed we found only one person on board.

“Para-transit service is a lifeline but given the explosion in growth we it can’t be sustained that’s why we have to control costs and improve services,” said Commission member and MBTA General Manager Richard Davey.

Many of The RIDE’s disabled and elderly clients were on hand to make sure this important service doesn’t go away but agree the state should trim the waste.

Our cameras caught the more expensive, handicap-accessible vans being used for people who really don’t need them and money is lost because the state doesn’t collect federal reimbursements for medical trips.

Those are just a few of the things this commission will look at to keep this lifeline in reach.

The commission will hold six public meetings across the state and then send its report to Governor Patrick.


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