Ask the MTA: Access-a-Ride improvements and subway disruptions

Traffic in the Queens Midtown Tunnel. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, presents “Ask the MTA,” a weekly column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter rails and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.

Q: What plans are in the works to make Access-A-Ride more accessible to the city’s seniors and disabled persons? What’s being done to keep these costs affordable?

A: Our goal is to serve every New Yorker who qualifies for Access-A-Ride, and we’re dedicated to finding new ways to further improve service. For example, we’re expanding our broker program to offer more trips in taxis and for-hire vehicles; bringing new vehicles onto our dedicated service; rolling out the MY AAR app and website; and expanding our on-demand pilot program to 2,400 customers in the coming months. 

When it comes to costs, every trip on our traditional Access-A-Ride service costs $2.75, the same as the regular fixed route fare.  That is not changing. That service delivered eight million trips last year, and customer and trip volume continues to grow. 

We also continue to have a zero denial policy, which means we grant every trip request, regardless of time of day and origin/destination, so long as it’s in our service area. Additionally, we provide wheelchair accessible trips and door-to-door assistance as needed. 

— Michael Cosgrove, Vice President, Paratransit

Q:  Could you talk about any planned repairs to the bridges and tunnels for 2020? Will it mess up my commute?

We plan all repair projects on our bridges and tunnels with our customers in mind, and understand that sometimes our work may impact your commute. But whenever possible, we schedule it during off peak hours, like nights and weekends, or in the hours between the morning and afternoon rushes.  

For example, we’re currently doing a major roadway reconstruction project on the south side of the Henry Hudson Bridge. The necessary travel lanes are being kept open during the peak hours, so the impact on traffic is slight.

Rest assured, our number one priority is to have as minimal an impact as possible on your commute. In the rare case that do we have projects or emergency repairs that affect drivers in peak commute times, we make sure to give customers plenty of advance notice. 

— Joe Keane, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Bridges and Tunnels