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Old 05-27-2017, 04:51 PM
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Laura Laura is offline
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Soapbox End Excess-A-ride by using accessible taxis instead

From The New York Daily News: editorials
Saturday, May 27, 2017, 4:10 AM Wheels up! (NYC TAXI &
LIMOUSINE COMMISSION) When 50 people with disabilities in wheelchairs and
walkers and with guide dogs showed up at the MTA board meeting Wednesday
morning to complain about Access-A-Ride service, one of them, Jennifer
Bartlett, framed it perfectly: "Society has made us invisible in
order to protect themselves from their discomfort." How else to
explain how in January the MTA was ready to jack up the fare for the awful
service by 9%; and it was only the day before the vote, when this
column alerted Gov. Cuomo, that he intervened to keep the fare flat?
It's time for Cuomo to intervene again to fix Access-A-Ride. The
MTA's network of paratransit vehicles delivers 20,000 rides a day
for New Yorkers with disabilities. For the staggering cost of a
half-billion dollars a year--- an average of $68 per ride---
passengers get a quality of service that wouldn't be acceptable in
the Third World. Reservations for rides must be made at least a day in
advance. The passenger must then wait for the ride to arrive --- and
must wait up to 30 minutes, because with Access-A-Ride, 29 minutes late is
considered on time. Of course, it doesn't work the other way. If a
passenger is more than five minutes late, the van will leave and your
account will get a chit against it. Get three or four, and you get
suspended. Cancellations must be made at least two hours in advance,
again, with penalties if you don't comply. And once you get in, be
prepared for a tour of the city as other passengers get picked up and
dropped off. So those 50 hardy souls who wanted to testify about how very
bad Access-A-Ride is all had to make their plans in advance and build in
lots of extra time and go out and wait and drive all around, just to tell
the MTA how very bad Access-A-Ride is. MTA Chairman Freddy Ferrer,
answering the outcry, replied: "I'm unhappy with Access-A-Ride
too. The board doesn't have a complete level of contentment with how
we provide that service."
"Complete level of contentment?" How about: It sucks.
We'll blow up the whole stupid system and start over, using proven
technology that can get people where they want to go far faster, for far
less money. True example: A few weeks ago a woman who uses a wheelchair
arranged for an Access-A-Ride van to take her from her Upper West Side
home to a doctor's appointment in Midtown. The white van arrived on
time, but had a flat tire. Fortunately there was one of the 1,763
wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs right in front of her apartment
building. She got in and arrived at the doctor in time. However, instead
of paying the $16 fare on the meter, she insisted on paying only the
Access-A-Ride fare of $2.75 --- which is set for the sake of fairness,
because the service is designed to be a bus-and-subway alternative. On
Access-A-Ride, the fare would have cost the MTA, and the taxpayers,
$68.The moral of the story? The MTA was willing to pay $68 for the ride
(and $68 on the return) for a ride that, in real life, only cost $16 each
way. Simple answer: Use the growing fleet of yellow and green accessible
taxis, with ramps that Uber and other smart-phone based car services
should also have to provide, to connect current Access-A-Ride to rides.
Riders with disabilities will save hours of their lives. And taxpayers,
all of us, will save billions.
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