SJC Transportation continues to provide poor service

To the editor:
I would like to complain about the continuing poor service associated with the St Joseph County Transportation bus services. I am disabled and do not drive and I am on three times a week dialysis for kidney failure. I depend on the SJCT to get me to and from my medical treatments.
Every since the “millage” passed a few months ago and the service is now guaranteed money from the taxpayers regardless of the service quality they provide, they have continued to degrade the responsiveness to the riders — especially the riders that have fixed, regular schedules.
My medical treatments start and end at the same time everyday, but the bus, rather then be a fixture of consistency changes every single day with in a 30 to 40 minute window. Regular riders are treated as “extras” to be filled in when ever convenient around flex riders “going shopping” or for other casual appointments.
By policy, if the rider is not ready with in five-10 minutes of the bus arriving — the bus drives off and the rider is charged a MISSED RIDE FEE equal to the amount of fare they would have paid. However, if the bus is late, even by an hour (has happened to me), they — SJCT — is not obligated to call the rider to let them know about the late ride, nor is the rider compensated in any way for the poor service. In my case, with a scheduled medical treatment that must start on time, I have had to scramble to get a ride from family. If I start my treatment late, I must end on time, receiving less treatment time then my doctor ordered.
The Board of Directors hide behind closed door meetings and their monthly meetings, budget reports, etc., are not readily available. The Board’s availability to the riders and the public, including property owners paying taxes to support the service, is one of cloaked indifference.
The State of Michigan needs to look at ways to step in and instead of SJCT receiving property tax millage regardless of the number of riders or the quality of service and instead only reimburse the service based on actual number of riders and on time pick-ups.

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