Thursday, January 21, 2010


To help people with disabilities, the bus gives free rides to their Personal Care Attendants (PCA's). This is another loophole in which the scammers delight. Most people who use this seem to be legitimate, but every now and then you get one that you know is just not right.

I had two very drunk/high guys get on in downtown Minneapolis one evening. They staggered across the street and I wasn't quick enough to get away. The first guy fell up the steps. He then turned around and yelled to his friend to hurry and get on the bus. The second guy weaves his way across the street as I sat there dreading his arrival. The first one starts to show me the yellow paper that you get when you are waiting for your ID to come from the state. He had no picture ID to back it up or anything. I wasn't feeling like touching anything he had pulled out of his filthy, urine-stained pocket so I told him it was fine, he could pay the mobility fare and have a seat. Then he tells me his drunk buddy is his PCA! I told him a PCA is a Personal Care Attendant...not someone who is drunk. He insisted that his friend didn't have to pay because other drivers told him he didn't. I didn't feel like trying to argue with a guy that was obviously very drunk and whose eyes were bulging out of his head...I think from some type of drugs so I let them sit down.

I called the Control Center and told them about the two guys and told them I had a long layover in a place I didn't feel comfortable and didn't want these two on my bus alone with me. They didn't seem to know where they were going or even where they were. I looked in the mirror and one of them was inhaling something off a piece of plastic. I told Control that if they didn't get off by Uptown Station, I'd be calling back for a squad to meet me at the end of the line. They agreed that it would be safest to do so. Lucky for me, they recognized the station when we arrived uptown and decided to get on a 17 and go to Hopkins or somewhere.

I'm thinkin' if someone wants to scam the system and get a free ride for their friend, they should at least TRY and act sober!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't the mobility ID have to say that there is a PCA for the free PCA ride to be valid? Not that it mattered this time...

- Andrew

4:06 PM  
Blogger TheTransitCamera said...

I'm a PCA for my brother and I would get canned pretty quick if I was drunk!
I didn't even know a PCA could ride for free, makes sense when it's legit though.


10:25 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Ree said...

Anon - Not all mobility ID's list a PCA. We are generally not to question it and just allow the free ride for the "PCA". That is why there is so much fraud with it.

TransitCamera - Yep - I agree they should ride free but think there should be a required ID like everyone else. I just hate seeing cheaters get away with it when others pay every day.

9:50 PM  
Blogger keesa said...

One time, I was on the 11 bus headed to downtown. We were running a bit late, as it was the morning commute.

We had to stop on Nicollet to pick up someone in a wheel chair and their PCA. It took a while and everyone on the bus was anxious because we were late.

However, one guy in the back was particularly anxious. He was visibly agitated and being obnoxious. Things escalated when he opened his window, yelled at the people getting on to "take metro mobility" and spat on the PCA. (I feel like he also said something racist, but I couldn't hear everything. The PCA was black and he was white).

Thankfully we had an awesome driver who told him that people who ride the bus have manners and don't act like that. He told him, if he didn't calm down, he'd have to get off the bus.

I used my fancy phone to write to metro transit and praise the driver. Oh, I was so mad at that man!

9:24 AM  

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