The Glendale City Council on Tuesday authorized a six-month experiment using taxicabs to supplement the Dial-A-Ride program for the disabled and senior citizens.
Under the trial program, Dial-A-Ride will continue to operate on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and clients still will make reservations by phone with a dispatcher, City Manager David Ramsay said. But taxis will be used to provide faster service in emergencies and allow clients to travel outside city boundaries, he said.
Council members voted 3-1 to allow Ramsay to start negotiating a temporary contract with Medi-Ride, a Glendale-based operator specializing in transit for the elderly and disabled. Medi-Ride is the prime contractor in Pasadena’s service for the elderly and disabled and has successfully used vans and cabs, Ramsay said.
Councilman Dick Jutras was absent. Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg voted against the resolution because it also dispensed with competitive bidding for Dial-A-Ride services so the city can continue the service after its current contract with Laidlaw Transit expires Dec. 1.
Laidlaw Transit did not want to take part in the trial service, Ramsay said in his report. Once the city staff began to discuss the service with Medi-Ride, Checker Cab Company--also based in Glendale--submitted a proposal to operate a taxi-based Dial-A-Ride program. The staff ultimately chose Medi-Ride.
Bremberg said she was concerned that the city will not look for alternative programs to Medi-Ride. “I’m suspicious of a trial run with no competition,” she said.
She also said several regular Dial-A-Ride customers called her over the weekend complaining that taxi drivers do not cooperate with them or understand their needs.
Bremberg said the complaints included rudeness, refusal to help a client with a walker, taking a longer way than needed in order to increase the taxi fare and uncleanliness.