Inclusive process results in more accountability and higher customer standards for Metro’s Access paratransit service 

King County Metro’s American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) Paratransit Program provides shared rides on Access Transportation for people whose disability(ies) prevent them from using fixed route bus or light rail service. Access Transportation provided nearly 1 million trips last year, serving about 10,000 customers.

With the help of customers and advocates, King County Metro is scheduled to have a new contract to improve Access service beginning in August 2019.

Metro first asked for contractor proposals last year; however, Access riders and other stakeholders communicated their disappointment that they were not involved in the development of the Request for Proposals (FRP). They advocated for a more inclusive process.

At the direction of the King County Council, Metro paused the RFP process and formed a workgroup of riders, caregivers, members of organizations that serve people with disabilities, and staff from the King County Executive’s Office and the King County Council to further engage and listen to our stakeholders.

This workgroup and Access staff developed a list of key recommendations which will be included in the new contract. The result for customers will be better accountability and higher standards for on-time performance than Metro has under their current contracts. Metro will also have more financial incentives to encourage contractors to improve performance and customer service, as well as reduce costs and travel times – and disincentives if standards aren’t met.

Access has already has made some changes to improve service for customers including: improved on-time performance and scheduling policies, as well as strengthened contract management and accountability.

Access staff are committed to delivering high quality service. The experience they’ve had over the past year has served as a reminder of the value of pausing to listen to their customers. With the workgroup effort coming to a close, Access is supporting a new Access Task Force with more than 20 riders and advocates who will continue to hold them accountable and help improve the program.