Metro Mobility Cuts Threaten Independence

The 7-County Metro Area’s paratransit service for people with disabilities, Metro Mobility, is providing a record number of rides with fewer trip denials and customer complaints than at any time in the program’s history. This at a time when more and more Minnesotans with disabilities are relying on the system to go to and from work.

The Metropolitan Council has proposed a 10 percent cut in the program’s funding. As a result, according to a map produced by the Met Council, Lino Lakes, Lake Elmo, Stillwater, Baytown Township, Cottage Grove would have no Metro Mobility service. Eleven additional suburbs would lose more than half the current service area, and another 12 cities would lose a portion of their service. In all, 28 Metro communities will see significant reductions in service.

People with disabilities need access to public transit options to preserve their independence and be productive, integrated members of their communities:

Economic Independence: The number one reason people ride Metro Mobility is to get to and from work.

Limited Options: 1 in 3 Metro Mobility riders have no other available form of transportation.

Fewer Riders: The proposed cuts would reduce the number of rides by 4.5%, or more than 50,000 rides annually.

A National Leader: According to a 2003 Metropolitan Council audit, Metro Mobility’s operating costs per hour are lower than peer systems across the nation.

Operational Efficiency: The same audit reveals Metro Mobility’s cost per passenger mirrors its national peers.

Satisfied Riders: 95 percent of regular riders indicate a high or very high level of satisfaction with the program.

Joel Ulland, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter, 200 12th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, Phone 612-335-7933, julland@mssociety.org