When the MTA scales back service next month, its disabled riders will see many of their Access-A-Ride and paratransit options whittled down. The authority currently feels its Access-A-Ride options are too inclusive and too broad and that cost savings can be found by better personalizing paratransit trips and excluding some who have previously been included. To that end, the authority will implement $40 million worth of savings by replacing door-to-door service with feeder routes to accessible fixed-route transit stops, determining eligibility on a trip-by-trip rather than season-by-season basis and streamlining management and scheduling.
While the main focus of the coverage around the service cuts has delved into the labor battles and impact on everyday riders, City Limits recently highlighted how the cuts will impact the disabled riders. Many will find their trips longer and more circuitous; others will rely more on taxi vouchers than transit options. Still, as the MTA cuts services, they’re forging ahead with ADA compliancy efforts as more stations are slated to become accessible throughout five years covered by the next capital campaign. It is a challenging balancing act as the MTA stretches their dollars to keep pace with demand.