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Users Speak Up to Capital Metro about Service Changes

Well over a hundred people who use Capital Metro's services for riders with disabilities packed into a lecture hall at the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center near Lamar and Guadalupe Streets Tuesday evening. Most were protesting proposed service changes on the part of the agency.

"STS is important because sometimes I can't walk all that way," says Sarah Cole, 33, who recently moved from LaMarque, near Galveston, with her children, specifically to take advantage of the services for the blind offered here. "It's important. It's a whole lot more important than people realize."

The transit provider wants to streamline office hours, add global positioning systems to its taxis and begin charging fees for people who make appointments and do not show up when the vehicles are ready to take them to their destinations. Some riders claim the program is not without its own faults, however, as one woman at the most recent public hearing on the same subject claimed a Capital Metro Special Transit Service driver left her sitting at Zilker Park well after nightfall after attending a musical event there. She later cleared up the mistake when calling the dispatch center and learned the driver was running late and was locked out of that park area when maintenance personnel closed the gate.

"Our technology will help us in making our system more efficient for Capital Metro and more importantly more efficient for our customers," says Gerardo Castillo, Community Involvement Director for Capital Metro. "We heard the community. We went back and changed our proposal to have Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from summer/fall starting in 2008."

"It's just important to me because I can get around a lot better," Cole says. "I feel safe. I'm not always safe on the bus."

Capital Metro says they will continue to listen to the comments of its users and will adjust its services to meet those needs.
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