MetroAccess leaves 90-year-old woman stranded

A problem with MetroAccess left a 90-year-old woman stranded. She had to pay to get another ride home and filed a complaint with Metro but didn't get a satisfactory answer.

Blanche Lustig waited an hour and a half at her doctor's office alone. She asked Metro to reimburse her for the ride, but the initial answer was no. Then FOX 5 got involved.

"It was their fault I had to get a taxi," said Lustig.

She doesn't drive anymore because her eyesight is failing and she doesn't get around as well these days. She uses MetroAccess and scheduled a trip earlier this month from her home in Rockville to the doctor in Silver Spring. She had problems from the start.

"I arrived at my doctor's appointment an hour late because the driver had to make two pickups before he could drop me off," she said.

Already behind schedule, she called MetroAccess and moved her pick up time back to 5:02 - 5:32 p.m. The time came and went with no sign of MetroAccess. After 6:00 p.m. and alone in the lobby, she called to see what was wrong.

"They said they're right on Georgia Avenue, they'll be there in a few minutes," she said.

Eventually she was told the computer listed her pick up time as 7 p.m. She gave up and got a $23 cab ride home. "It was such a foul up at their end that I was a wreck," Lustig said.

She filed a complaint with MetroAccess asking to be reimbursed. After an investigation, she was told she would not be given anything for the cab ride. "It's my $23 and I resent them refusing to pay," she told FOX 5.

After being reached by FOX 5, Metro, which runs the paratransit service, did more digging. It found that Lustig's confirmed pick up time had been mistakenly changed in the computer system.

In a statement Metro said "We apologize to Ms. Lustig for the inconvenience she experienced. We are looking into the underlying reason for the change to her reservation in the MetroAccess scheduling system but it is clear that the responsibility is ours. MetroAccess will be reaching out to Ms. Lustig today to confirm that she was not charged for the trip and to offer trip credit for future travel to cover the cost of her taxi expense."

She'll get credit for four trips, equal to $24 in credit. "The whole day was their error," said Lustig.

It's the first time she's ever had a major issue with MetroAccess since she started using it a year and a half ago. She's just glad Metro admitted its mistake and the problem has been fixed.