Island Transit alarmed by phone outage
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
October 2, 2009 · Updated 3:21 PM
Verizon telephone service has been on and off for three days this week at Island Transit and other locations in Central Whidbey, spurring concerns about senior citizens who rely on the bus service to get to medical appointments.
“This is really serious for us,” said Martha Rose, director of Island Transit. “We are truly a lifeline for older folks.”
Senior citizens and disabled people normally call the number on the back of their “paratransit card” to book a ride, but this is impossible when the phones are down. Rose said some riders need to get to important medical appointments, such as dialysis, and she’s worried they will miss them without transportation.
Rose said the telephone outage has affected the Island Transit facility on Highway 20 south of Coupeville and neighbors, including the Island County transfer station.
Jon Davies, a spokesman for Verizon, said about 400 customers in Central Whidbey experienced the phone problems, which started Wednesday afternoon. He said the service was up Friday afternoon, but crews continue to work on the problem.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience,” he said. “We’ll be working on it until it’s fully resolved .”
Rose said Friday morning that she and other Island Transit employees have contacted Verizon many times and requested six different work orders, but the phones kept malfunctioning.
“We are just pulling out our hair,” she said. “We even had one Verizon person hang up on us. Now that’s customer service.”
Rose said some employees have driven out to check on some of the regular paratransit riders. Anyone who has trouble contacting Island Transit can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to their Web site at islandtransit.org.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.