LUBBOCK, Texas— During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Diane and David Taylor with Adult Day Center, a daycare for adults with special needs, approached the council on the citizen’s comment portion to call attention to alleged dangerous conditions on the Citibus’s paratransit for those with disabilities and special needs.
Diane spoke first about buses without air conditioning and scheduled buses arriving two hours late.
“We understand that there’s like a 30-minute swing time from pick-up times, we’ve always worked with them on that, but someone got picked up last night at 6:45,” Diane said. “This person didn’t have their meds, they didn’t have the meal that needs to go along with their meds.”
David brought up examples of their clients’ complaints, citing a bus driver and riders were “dripping in sweat” one afternoon while it was 107 degrees outside.
General manager at Citibus, Chris Mandrell said there are no buses that run without A/C,
but older vehicles have a harder time keeping cool in this heat, especially when driving 6-8 hours a day constantly. Mandrell said some of its paratransit vans are 2016 models and have almost 200,000 miles on them.
Mandrell said he hopes the city council will approve funding for new vans at the next city council meeting in September.
“We do have plans in the next month to go to council to request approval to purchase new vehicles, and then as soon as we get those in, then we can take these others out of the fleet, then we will have a better functioning vehicle for the community,” Mandrell said.
Mandell also addressed the lateness of its buses. He said its buses have been able to arrive on time consistently for months now, something he admits they struggled with in the past, but hopes to keep up with going forward.
“Typically we’re running about 95% average month over month on-time performance, there are times where vehicles are in late traffic or there’s a passenger issue emergency,” Mandell said. “There’s a wide range of things that are happening throughout the day in an operation to create a lateness for a vehicle.”
Diane said she always had a great relationship with Citibus and hopes to continue that by communicating more with them.
“The drivers of Citibus are phenomenal,” Diane said. “These people are so patient and kind with our patients. They treat them with kid gloves, and the drivers are wonderful, I need the management to step up to the plate and I need them to act like they care.”
Mandrell said Citibus looks forward to continuing to support the community and employees and strive to do the best for both.
Citibus will add 17 new electric hybrid buses in October to its city routes.