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.

  • emom

    The RIDE is critical to many that can not drive….I have seen many of these bus’s criss cross paths, YES I am in weymouth almost every day and see them going down the road with a passenger maybe 2… they wave at each other as they pass… And its not only just 2 of them its many.,.. I know nursing homes that use them for their patients, they take trips in them to their doctors, unfortunatly they cant expect all there patients to have appointments at the same time nor the same day… HOWEVER>> if these busses take and look at their schedules I am sure they can utilize their routes far better than they are doing now… If you have a patient going in a direction and pass someone that will be taking the ride in around the same time why send a 2nd bus for a single rider. this is what happens,,, and the cost are up because they dont see this… some of the drivers hate it when they dont have a full bus. even a half full bus… we cant ask the patrions to change their schedule, but they can utilize how they schedule the busses.I wish they would get their act together and stop hurting those that truly use them… we have lost so much for those in need this would be a major loss and hardship for those needing suport… I know have to deal with it to much.

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