2011-07-15 / Top Stories

MTA Apologizes To Adattos – Sort Of

By Howard Schwach

The Addatos at home after the July 1 incident. The Addatos at home after the July 1 incident. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has issued a statement to The Wave in the wake of its front page story last week detailing the travails of Rockaway residents Ruth and Isaac Adatto.

As reported last week, the Adattos were coming home on an MTA Paratransit van when Isaac, who is wheelchair bound, began to bleed from his legs.

With the van at McDonald’s on Beach 92 Street, only minutes from the Adatto’s home on Beach 126 Street, the van driver chose to follow his route and take the couple to East New York in Brooklyn to drop off another rider that had recently been picked up in Far Rockaway.

The van’s driver called his dispatcher and was told to continue on his route to Brooklyn.

Ruth Adatto called a supervisor at MTA who reportedly told her that Access A-Ride was a shared ride, and she would have to go wherever the driver took her. Eventually, the driver off-loaded them in the McDonald’s parking lot and took off.

After reading the story on Friday, Deidre K. Parker, a spokesperson for the MTA, emailed a statement to The Wave.

“The Paratransit Division of MTA New York City Transit regrets that Mr. and Mrs. Adatto experienced distress during their July 1 ride to their home in the Rockaways. Upon review of the trip records and audio tapes of phone conversations, management finds that the issue was not adequately addressed on the part of the call center agents.

“In cases such as this, the call center agents should bring the matter to the attention of a supervisor because any change to the trip might adversely affect other customers on that route. He or she would have to make the determination if other arrangements need to be made for those customers and see that those other arrangements are carried out.

“We do want to stress that Access- A-Ride is a shared ride service and other customers may be picked up and dropped off during one’s ride. Access-A-Ride may not be the appropriate mode of transportation for some customers, especially if they need direct service to and from their destination.

Drivers are told not to deviate from their assigned routes. Any deviation could cause serious delays to other customers.

“Had the Adattos continued their trip to completion, their time on the vehicle would have been well within established parameters for ride time. However, under certain circumstances, managers are prepared to react to dayof service changes if the need arises.

“Our Paratransit office contacted Mr. and Mrs. Adatto directly regarding this matter and explained how this kind of problem can be prevented in the future. In addition, the contractor for the call center agents, First Transit, has been directed to remind their personnel of the need to refer these kinds of problems to the on-duty manager to ensure the health and welfare of our customers.”

Ruth Adatto, who said that she had many “successful rides” with Access-ARide, said that all she wanted was better treatment from the agency.

“The disabled need help to get to their vital appointments,” she said. “Sometimes they just have to use some common sense.”

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