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Karen’s Dial-A-Ride Disaster: Late to Work Again!

July 7, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Yes. That’s right. There are more serious problems to report with our metro area’s Dial-A-Ride service. Karen has worked four days this week. Dial-A-Ride made her late to work on two of those days! Check out the following e-mail thread.

I wrote the following note on Karen’s behalf:

Hi Rose, Denise, Andrew and Gary,

Karen Hughes was late to work this morning July 7 thanks to inefficient routing and a complete failure to take appropriate corrective actions. This incident represents the second time in one week she has been made late to work! This state of affairs is completely unacceptable. Are you people even considering that one could actually lose their job over excessive tardiness? What are your company’s attendance policies? Since we as people with disabilities endure a 70 percent unemployment rate, your actions or inactions represent real harm to us when we are forcibly made late to our jobs due to the largely preventable circumstances outside our control. We expect actions to be taken to prevent this in the future. Of course, we also fully expect an explanation and a show of accountability for this morning’s uncorrected errors, which resulted in harm done only to Karen. Debbie refused to directly communicate with dispatch, only telling Karen that she would arrive at work by 7:50. Certainly, 8:15 is 25 minutes later than 7:50? The driver asked Rocky to take corrective action, but she refused. Obviously, the incident was preventable on several fronts. First, correct routing yesterday would have avoided the entire problem in the first place. Second, Debbie should have made the correct choice to proactively communicate with dispatch to see what corrective actions could be taken at the moment. Third, Rocky should have asked the driver to drop off Karen. Obviously, the second and third actions would not have been optimal, so prevention was essential at the routing stage. Rose finally called me back at 8:37. She left a voice mail indicating that I needed to give her time, that this wasn’t going to be resolved in three minutes and that there were no “quick fixes” for this matter. Obviously. Of course, I understand these things. Thus far, there have been no real fixes, either quick or otherwise. I actually find those comments slightly patronizing and insulting to my intelligence. Sometimes, I am left with the impression that people who deal with me are under the mistaken assumption that, solely due to my disability, I also lack such attributes as intelligence and a willingness to act to correct injustices. Come on guys. Please! Let’s be accountable for the two incidents on Tuesday and this morning and lets devise a plan to prevent these problems from recurring. Let me just ask you all one question. I do expect an answer to this question, if you are truly sincere toward people with disabilities. How would you feel if you lost your job due to poor attendance that was completely outside your control and was actually caused by the incorrect and inefficient actions of others? I’m looking forward to a real, sincere and effective response. Thanks.

Given the severity of this incident and our absolute insistance on prompt correction, I wrote a second message after two and a half hours with no response from anyone.

Hi Rose, Denise, Andrew and Gary,

While we understand you need some time to investigate and come up with resolutions to prevent incidents like the one that took place today and on Tuesday morning, we do desire and expect reasonably prompt action. Karen works tomorrow also. Wouldn’t it make sense to start toward a solution, taking actions to avoid yet another potential problem tomorrow morning?

Thanks.

Denise responded as follows. Though incomplete, it is a response nonetheless.

Darrell and Karen, I have taken a look at the trip for tomorrow and locked it onto the route. This will help for tomorrow. I have also once again spoken with my dispatch staff and explained that appointments are important and need to be kept. As you know Darrell we are currently working on a plan for scheduling trips with appointment times in a different method making more important the appointment time over the pickup time. We will keep you informed as to the progress of this and what we are planning on doing.

I responded to this note with the following reply.

Hi Denise,

Could Karen also have some tickets for these incidents, please? It is definitely the least that could be done for a situation that could potentially cause the loss of Karen’s employment. If that would happen, it would make you responsible for the wholely unnecessary and preventable decrease in the living standards of a person with a disability. So far this year, Karen’s attendance hasn’t been all that great in comparison to her non-disabled coworkers, and that’s all thanks to EVDAR. Karen is an extremely conscientious, reliable employee, but some of the actions of EVDAR from time to time have given the opposite appearance.

I am awaiting a response on the tickets, hoping that it will also include other information concerning how this recurring problem will be prevented in the future.

Karen started her own thread on this matter. Check out her initial message this morning. Note that her references to EVDAR represent East Valley Dial-A-Ride.

Hi Rose & Denise,

As you know I was 20 minutes late this morning! I should not be LATE TO WORK! THIS COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED ESPECIALLY SINCE i SPOKE TO DEBBIE WHEN i GOT ON THE VAN AS WELL AS THE DRIVER,DAVE, CALLED IN & SPOKE TO ROCKY ASKING IF HE COULD DROP ME OFF AT WORK BEFORE DROPPING THE OTHER PASSENGER OFF AT BASELINE! I spoke to Debbie shortly after getting on the van, around 6;40. I had expressed my concern that I would be late as well as mentioned the routing ISSUE , asking her to put me on hold & speak with dispatch to see what could be done & possibly reroute the rides. She did put me on hold, but did not have any worthwhile information, nothing that was helpful or meaningful! All she said, Dispatch said, you won’t be late, don’t worry! I was upset with her because she did not take this seriously, listen to what I was asking & needed! Darrell & I have been passengers for over 6 years, & know howlong it will take to get from point A to point B! We usually are very acurate & when, we call the eVDAR office, its for a reason! Anyway, we went on to pick up this Lady on Del Rio which is South of Southern. She was going to 48 th & Baseline & had to take Phoenix Dial-a-ride to go to one of the Foundations for the Handicapped. She is Developmentally delayed & I also think PHYSICALLY disabled too. She had to be to her destination in Phoenix by 8am. After Speaking with you Rose, I understand, that she did get to her destination on time. Although, I believe noone should be late to work or anywhere for that matter, I think, if you had to choose getting me to work & getting her to work at one of the workshops for the handicapped, you should prioritize & drop me off at work before her. Most of these workshops, foundations for the Handicapped, do not care as much, whether, their employees are late, but they do here at Hyatt! Every employer should not accept if any employee is late for work. Of course, we all are going to be late, once in a while, but it should not be tolerated. People can lose their jobs if they are
late too often! We did not leave Baseline until almost 7;30 & then were on our way to drop me off at work. Keep in mind that this is rush hour & how far this
is from Double tree! As you know, I did not get to work until 8;20! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! as you know I have an appointment time of 7;50! ROCKY SHOULD KNOW BETTER! SHE HAS BEEN AN evdar EMPLOYEE FOR SEVERAL YEARS. SHE SHOULD KNOW WHETHER or not I will be on time! She should be looking more carefully, paying attention to the details; looking at factors such as location of passengers home , their destination, how many miles he/she will be traveling, traffic conditions & so on! I do not know what she was thinking, saying that I will be to work on time! She was extremely inaccurate! This is the second day this week that I was late to work! Please, investigate what happened! Why did the router route the rides like this? I should not have even been on the van with Alfreda! Also, there was a communication breakdown somewhere! Rocky & Debbie act like they do not care whether we are late! Something needs to be done Guys! This is inexcusable! I am furious! Both of us are! This has happened way too many times EVDAR needs to do their jobs, look at details & be more efficient! Noone should be late! I said something at 6;40 this morning, so changes could have been made, should have been made, so I would be to work on time! I never should have been on the same right as the other passenger. Please, call us back! Denise, I still have not heard back from you into regards to being late to work & being picked up late Tuesday evening. We would like a call back or a response to this message as soon as possible!

Karen

As of 3:20 this afternoon, Karen has not received a response to that note, though she did receive a phone call. I guess people are afraid to respond in writing? Karen wrote another note as follows.

Hi Denise & Rose,

Thank you for responding to Darrell’s message as well as checking on tomorrow’s rides. We agree, that the appointment time is much more important than the pick up time. If we need to be picked up earlier or later, to assure that we will be to our destination on time, please communicate to us & the other passengers. Sometimes, if we get picked up early, Routers/dispatchers seem to think they can just insert another pickup & do not consider other passengers needs; what time he/she needs to be at their destination or how long they have been on the van for example. Prior to the schedule changes in May, I had a ” request time” of 6;15, but a pick up time of 6;40. The ETA on most of those days was 6;40. Karral was my regular driver Monday through Thursday & Garry usually picked me up on Fridays. On the weekends I have a 6;45, & this is not usually an issue on the weekend. Furthermore, when I would be picked up by Karral or Garry at 6;40, we usually only had one pick up & then would drop me off. The routers & dispatch, felt if, I was picked up sooner, that I would be likely to be late because they would route more passengers on my van, making me late to work! Ever since, the changes, EVDAR can not seem to get it right! Please, do something! You can not get passenger’s late to work! As Darrell said, I am a responsible, dependable employee. I take my job here at the Hyatt very seriously! Please, do not make me tardy again! Also, I too, think, you should send us tickets for today’s & Tuesday’s incidents! I still have not heard back from you Denise regarding Tuesday! We also would like a response to Darrell’s question. We truly would like a well thought * Today’s Thought Provoker”* response to this! This is very important to us! We have known people whom have lost their jobs due to frequent tardiness! WE look forward to hearing from all of you in the next day or so!. Take care.

Karen

P.s. Please, can you check the status of my ride for the morning at the end of the day today? if there are any issues with my morning ride, please, call us. I will be more then happy to get picked up earlier if need be!

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