January 23, 2020

Access-a-Ride Reform Group, Disability Justice, Media Coverage, News

Access-A-Ride vehicle in New York

The CITY published a report on widespread accessibility problems in applying for Access-A-Ride, New York City’s paratransit service for people with disabilities.  Among other issues, none of the six required assessment locations across the city has automatic doors.  The article extensively quotes NYLPI’s Access-A-Ride Campaign Coordinator and organizer, Eman Rimawi:

‘Ableism All Over’

Advocates and experts said that while the non-automatic doors likely didn’t constitute a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Access-A-Ride was sending the disabled community a clear message.

“That’s Access-A-Ride saying they don’t want us to actually use the service,” said Eman Rimawi, who coordinates an Access-A-Ride improvement campaign for the group New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Rimawi said that the doors were just the latest in a litany of complaints she hears about Access-A-Ride — ranging from poorly trained drivers and inaccessible vehicles showing up for people in wheelchairs, to hours-long waits and customers who never get picked up.

A 2016 report by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office found that nearly 32,000 Access-A-Ride customers had been stranded the previous year and one of the service’s contractors had less than half their rides arrive on time. In 2018, Stringer’s office analyzed 21,000 complaints submitted to Access-A-Ride in 2016 and found that more than 40% were left unresolved past the MTA’s deadlines.

“I’ve been a customer with them for 12 years. That’s always been the feeling I’ve gotten from them — we’re going to make this service so bad that you’re not going to leave your house ever,” said Rimawi, a double amputee who uses a rolling walker.

“It’s ableism all over the place.”

For the complete article, click here.

For television coverage from CBS News, click here.

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