WXXI AM News

Transporting those with special needs

Jan 24, 2017

Credit alsigl.org

Medical Motor Service is marking over 90 years of meeting the transportation needs of seniors and people with special needs, and is on its way to logging another four million miles this year.

That's according to Executive Director Damon Mustaca, who says they play an important role in the everyday lives of many people in Monroe County.

"Fifteen thousand people used us and 4.4 million miles traveled last year, to provide almost 600 thousand one-way trips to the community," he said.

Mustaca says they provide access to vital services to the community.

"Some of the services they access range from vital medical, dialysis, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, physical therapy, behavioral health is a big piece of what we do. And we've also branched out into more of a social transportation provider," he said.

Mustaca says there are many transportation options here, but not necessarily for those with disabilities, or for seniors.

One of the 150 vehicles in MMA's fleet
Credit Alex Crichton

He says about a third of Medical Motor Services revenue is generated through Medicaid transportation, and two-thirds is funded through community partners.

Looking ahead, Mustaca sees a time when MMS develops a system that can handle the increased need of employment transportation.

Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights, Stephanie Woodward, says MMS offers a great service, but they're only one company.

She says there's a problem with segregated transportation in this community.

"The bus isn't segregated, however the taxis are, because we don't have segregated taxis which is why some people may need to rely on MMS. And while we appreciate the services that they provide, I also want to be able to call and get a taxi in 10 minutes just like everyone else."

Woodward adds ride-hailing isn't an answer, either, because Uber and Lyft aren't open to operating accessible vehicles.

Here's MMS Executive Director Damon Mustaca talking about how they transported almost 600 thousand rides last year in their 150 vehicles.

This story was presented as part of Dialogue on Disability Week - a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies - in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series.

Dialogue on Disability is supported in part by The Golisano Foundation with additional support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.