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'I Don't Deserve To Be Sloughed Off': Sacramento Woman Says Paratransit Bus Left Her Waiting For Hours

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A Sacramento woman who uses a mobility scooter wants her story told so no one else gets left behind.

"I am a citizen of this community who deserves respect," Patricia Nielsen told CBS13.

Patricia is rolling up her sleeves to fight for some of the most vulnerable.

"I don't deserve to be sloughed off and pushed aside and left on a street corner," said Patricia.

But she says that's exactly what happened when she reserved a ride with SacRT Paratransit. What started as a dream day with family at Fairytale Town had anything but a fairytale ending when the paratransit bus didn't show and multiple calls over nearly six hours to customer service went nowhere.

"When I'm stranded on a street corner, I don't need someone to call me back in a few days. I need someone to answer the phone right now and get me a ride," said Patricia.

Patricia said she watched Paratransit buses pass by as she was told she needed to wait for the bus with her reservation.

"This shouldn't have happened. We were dealing with a medical situation where a driver had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital and their spouse also works as a driver, so we had two drivers out. Really an unprecedented situation where she never should have been left," said SacRT spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez.

Gonzalez tells CBS13, similar to the national workforce shortage, SacRT has a driver shortage. Having two drivers out on Tuesday led to nearly two dozen riders waiting for their buses. The average delay was 27 minutes while one rider waited nearly two hours, but Patricia's delay was by far the longest at 5.5 hours.

"I didn't have that she contacted customer service. In our notes, she was only contacting dispatch, which again isn't her fault. Dispatch should have forwarded that," said Gonzalez. "We're looking into who she spoke to exactly so that our staff can talk to them and make sure that that gets forwarded."

Patricia says she's not angry, she just wants a solution so no one else gets left behind.

"Or that if it happens to me again, I want to be able to get help. I don't like being stranded on the street," said Patricia.

SacRT says to help with increased demand and a driver shortage, in mid-April, it will be contracting with an adaptive transportation network company that specializes in paratransit service.

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