Family of special needs man upset over long IndyGo Open Door bus rides

Posted at 4:26 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 19:42:14-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The family of a special needs man is seeking answers after they say his daily rides on the IndyGo Open Door Program have become unexpectedly long and delayed.

One of those rides home, which should have been 20 minutes, took more than three hours.

54-year-old Bobby Lowe is non-verbal and has Down syndrome. He takes the IndyGo Open Door bus to adult daycare at Crossroads every day.

His sister, MaryAnn Gerth, says it’s an important part of Bobby’s day because it allows him the independence to feel like an adult.

“It gives him independence to be able to ride the bus, pay the fee to the driver, every morning. At pickup, he gives the driver money,” said MaryAnn. “It gives him independence to go to adult day services.”

On September 17, MaryAnn says Bobby spent 3 hours and 20 minutes on the bus before they dropped him off at home.

“We’re panicking, our mother is 93 years old,” said MaryAnn. “When she knows he is not home, she gets in a panic because she expects to see him coming through the door around four o’clock every day.

A company called Transdev was granted a $54 million contract by IndyGo over the next five years to handle their IndyGo Open Door operation. We reached out to IndyGo about Bobby’s situation to see if it was a bigger issue.

IndyGo issued an apology, saying there have been “staff shortages and turnovers” from the Transdev team, which has resulted in the poor quality of their service.

According to the rules for IndyGo’s bus operators, they are supposed to notify dispatch if a rider is on board for 61 minutes or more.

IndyGo says they are “committed to improving reliability and minimizing disruptions for customers” who rely on their service.

"There have been staff shortages and turnover in the Transdev team, which unfortunately have resulted in poor quality of service.  IndyGo is committed to improving reliability and minimizing disruptions for customers who rely on our service."

MaryAnn says she appreciates that IndyGo acknowledges their mistake, but she wants the problem fixed, so it doesn’t continue to be an issue.  

She says her brother loves his daily outing, but the uncertainty of when the bus will arrive or when Bobby will get home makes it hard to let him go each day.

“It upsets family members and not knowing. Obviously, we can’t leave home until we know he’s home,” said MaryAnn.

In addition to their apology, IndyGo urges customers to report specific problems with a bus or route to their customer service team at 317-635-3344.

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