Woman with disability stranded at work due to VTA's paratransit delays following FBI raid

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands of disabled people in the South Bay had a tough time getting around Thursday after the FBI raided the offices of a paratransit service provider.

The VTA board of directors approved a $12.5 million, five-month-long emergency contract with a company to continue paratransit services.

One disabled woman was stranded at work Thursday.

Lucy Oliveira was stuck at work More than an hour after she was supposed to be picked up. She'd scheduled a ride through Outreach and Escort Incorporated.

"I was supposed to get my banking services done. I was supposed to. I don't know if I'm going to get to the market now," Oliveira said.

Lucy is one of 7,000 people in Santa Clara County who rely on outreach for paratransit services.

Outreach works for VTA, or at least it did until June. That's when an audit showed millions of dollars in undocumented charges. VTA canceled the contract.

"In addition to that, the board filed a lawsuit for false claims and fraud against Outreach," said VTA chairperson Cindy Chavez.

VTA turned over the audit to the Santa Clara County District Attorney and FBI and the FBI executed a search warrant at outreach headquarters in Milpitas.

"We anticipate some delays in getting responses back to individuals to confirm scheduled pickups, but we will endeavor to make sure those that are emergencies are addressed first," said VTA general manager Nuria Fernandez

VTA was still using Outreach as it transitioned away from the company. An emergency contract now gives the job temporarily to MV Transportation.

"As a disabled person it frustrates me and I'm speaking for all the disabled people," Oliveira said.

Oliviera finally decided to call a cab.
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