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‘We dropped the ball.’ GLSS takes responsibility for stranding a 77-year-old rider

LYNN — One day after Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) blamed an MBTA contractor for dropping off an elderly man at the wrong address, the nonprofit now says it was their fault.

“We dropped the ball,” said Steven Epps, GLSS’ transportation director. “We were responsible for booking and performing the trip, it had nothing to do with the T or the contractor. It was GLSS’ fault.”

Last week, Donald Parker came to The Item‘s downtown office to tell of his recent experience with a GLSS ride to his doctor’s office. The 77-year-old retiree had contacted the agency for a lift. GLSS delivers more than 600,000 rides annually for seniors and the disabled on the North Shore.

“But instead of taking me to my doctor’s office at 990 Humphrey St. in Swampscott, they took me to 990 Paradise Road,” he said.

When Parker told the driver of the error, the operator called GLSS who confirmed Paradise Road was the “correct” address and told him to exit the van.

As a result, Parker, who has had replacement surgery on both knees, walked one mile to Humphrey Street, was late for his appointment, and he ached.

When contacted by a reporter, Epps put the blame on Global Contact Services (GCS), the company hired by the MBTA last year to do the dispatching. But on Monday, he corrected the error.

“The bottom line is one of my people put in the wrong address,” he said. “This is completely our responsibility, not the MBTA’s.”

An MBTA spokesman contacted The Item on Monday by email to say Parker did not book the trip through the agency’s RIDE program, the T’s door-to-door service for the disabled.

“The gentleman in your story is not an MBTA RIDE customer,” wrote Joseph Pesaturo. “He booked this trip directly with GLSS, which has sole responsibility for dispatching trips.”

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