Lawmakers demand answers from Metro Mobility after Fox 9 Investigation

- Some lawmakers are demanding answers after a Fox 9 Investigation highlighted safety concerns involving Metro Mobility, a taxpayer-funded ride service for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Sandra Kline was seriously hurt after one of her rides. She was trying to exit a lift when it malfunctioned and her wheel chair tipped. She broke her leg and suffered complications.

"I was told I'll never walk again," Kline said.

The Fox 9 Investigators discovered several incidents through public data requests.

Video from inside a van shows what happened when a driver wheeled a passenger out of a bus to a lift that was already lowered to the ground. The passenger falls out of the exit to the ground. The videos revealed wheelchairs and scooters that weren't properly restrained in the vans. Metro Mobility said the number of these incidents is very small given the millions of trips taken.

Republican Representative Tony Albright of Prior Lake is the chair of the Legislative Commission that oversees the Metropolitan Council.

"My goodness, that's basic and essential to the service that's provided by this organization and if they're not doing that, I want to know why," Albright said.

It's the Met Council that owns the buses and runs Metro Mobility.  

"You raised a concern that really was just shocking and we're going to find some answers," Albright said.

Metro Mobility contracts with private companies to provide the bus drivers. Last year one company had a 51 percent turnover rate, another had 42 percent. There have been 244 unsafe driving complaints about the service since 2015.

No one from the Met Council would go on camera to answer questions from Fox 9. A statement from the organization said "We work daily with our contractors to ensure customer safety is front of mind and that we are taking every precaution to prevent injury."

"I think there's an issue of responsibility and accountability at Metro Mobility that certainly needs to be investigated," Albright added.

The Representative said he'll begin his investigation by calling in Met Council leadership to answer questions and there will likely be hearings to dig deeper into what's going on with the public transportation service.

To see the full Fox 9 Investigation click here


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