Accessibility

Just over the city limits in Westchester and Nassau County, riders with disabilities aren’t forced to trek to out-of-the-way “assessment centers” to prove their physical capabilities or lack thereof.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission has extended a cap on livery car licenses, which industry leaders say could be a final nail in their coffin.
The worst-performing subway escalator in The Bronx — at the Gun Hill Road stop on the No. 2 and 5 lines — is also one of the newest in the borough, having been in service 17 years at the station. Most Bronx subway escalators are more than 20 years old.
New technologies and an explosion of remote-work jobs hasn’t stopped the unemployment rate for New Yorkers with disabilities from jumping 10 percentage points since 2019, while funding for support groups has been slashed.
Victor Calise, one of the city’s longest-serving commissioners, will leave his post March 4 to take a job in the private sector. New Yorkers living with physical and mental challenges see the opening as an opportunity for the office to do more.
Some 1.3 million seniors and people with disabilities are eligible for discounted trips — but the MTA has managed to make its tap-and-go contactless payment system available to only 70 of them.
The paratransit service’s drivers may be seeing more green down the road as the MTA considers multiple measures — including bonuses and paying for bridge and tunnel rides — aimed at boosting reliability, THE CITY has learned.
Advocates for New Yorkers with disabilities urged officials at the agency’s monthly board meeting Wednesday to fix the system — as new data shows the number of people left stranded by Access-A-Ride spiked in September.
The reliability of the MTA’s Access-A-Ride paratransit service for New Yorkers with limited mobility has sunk to its lowest level in years — even as ridership has risen to almost 80% of pre-pandemic levels.
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The Mets-Willets Point complex — which serves anyone going to Citi Field, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the Queens Museum or Queens Night Market — is still inaccessible for LIRR passengers who can’t navigate stairs.
The new format, which also doubles the public comment period to 60 minutes, was especially welcomed by disabled riders who said the MTA’s unreliable paratransit services kept them from testifying about the MTA’s unreliable paratransit services.
MTA
The MTA will no longer require in-person testimony at its board meetings beginning Monday. That means public speakers will once again be allowed to rail remotely against the transit agency — although not in real time.
“Ramps are failproof,” declared Quemuel Arroyo, the MTA’s chief accessibility officer. But installing the slopes isn’t as easy as it might look, and in some cases elevators better fit the bill, some advocates say.
The rule forbidding a continuation of virtual public testimony limited participation by Access-A-Ride users with complaints about service problems, advocates for New Yorkers with limited mobility said. Meanwhile, MTA officials could still phone it in.
The transit agency’s leaders want to tap more private developers to make more subway stations Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant. But critics warn that similar partnerships have a spotty track record.
An outline of upgrades tacked onto a public hearing notice includes $770 million for station accessibility boosts. Meanwhile, officials hope that Pete Buttigieg will push along congestion pricing to help foot the bill.
The Union Square Partnership has proposed an ambitious “vision plan” to remake the 19th century park. Accessibility advocates want the overhaul to include technologically difficult upgrades for the sprawling subway station underneath.
Advocates pressed transit officials to wait until the pandemic ends before reinstating the $2.75 cash-only fee on the small buses and other vehicles that carry riders with limited mobility to vaccination and doctor appointments.
The MTA is pushing ahead to install lifts in seven stations and one Staten Island Railway stop, despite pandemic-driven financial disaster. But accessibility projects will have to wait at more than 50 other stations.