Fall/Winter 2008 -- All the news on Access-A-Ride -- Volume 7
Click here to view previous issues of OTM
By Thomas J. Charles, Vice President, Paratransit Division
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that requires Paratransit service to extend service by a three-quarter-mile corridor beyond fixed-route service, Access-A-Ride (AAR) customers can take trips across the New York City borderline to nearby areas of Nassau and Westchester Counties.
Formerly available only for travel within the five boroughs of New York City, AAR will now operate as far east as the following streets in Nassau County:
Middle Neck Road in Great Neck south to Lakeville Road; east along the service road of the Long Island Expressway to New Hyde Park Road; south on New Hyde Park Road to Jericho Turnpike; west on Jericho Turnpike to Covert Avenue; south on Covert Avenue to Meacham Avenue; south on Meacham Avenue to Dutch Broadway; west on Dutch Broadway to N. Fletcher Avenue; south on N. Fletcher Avenue to W. Merrick Road; west on W. Merrick Road to S. Central Avenue; south on S. Central Avenue to Mill Road; south on Mill Road to Peninsula Blvd.; southwest on Peninsula Blvd. to Franklin Avenue; south on Franklin Avenue to Broadway; southwest on Broadway to Auerbach Lane; south on Auerbach Lane to Hollywood Crossing; southeast on Hollywood Crossing to Ocean Avenue; southwest on Ocean Avenue to Tanglewood Crossing; southeast on Tanglewood Crossing to Willow Way; south on Willow Way to Causeway; south on Causeway to Beach Road; and Vernon Blvd. from Bay Blvd. to Ocean Blvd. in Atlantic Beach.
Service will be available to North Shore University Hospital-LIJ Medical Center on Community Drive in Manhasset upon request.
Similarly, AAR users can travel into Yonkers and Mount Vernon. AAR will operate as far north as the following streets: Union Place in Yonkers from Ravine Avenue to Warburton Avenue; N. Macquesten Parkway and Putnam Street in Mt. Vernon; Murray Street and Iden Avenue in Pelham; Mt. Tom Road and Park Ridge Avenue in New Rochelle.
When you call 877-337-2017 and ask to reserve a trip to a location in Nassau or Westchester County, the reservationist will tell you if the location is within the three-quarter-mile service area.
Revised No-Show/Late Cancellation
and Subscription Policies
AAR has revised its No-Show/Late Cancellation Policy and its Subscription Service Policy. These policies became effective on November 1, 2008. If you want copies or have questions, please call 877-337-2017, press #1 for the English menu or #2 for Spanish menu, then press #1 again for Eligibility. All AAR policies are available on the MTA website at www.mta.info.
No-Show/Late Cancellation Policy
Late cancellations are re-defined. A late cancellation occurs when a customer cancels a trip less than three hours before the scheduled trip. For example, if a trip has an 8:30 p.m. scheduled pick-up time, you must cancel it no later than 5:30 p.m. the same day. In addition, the formula for deciding if customers’ missed or late-cancelled trips establish a “pattern or practice” that justifies suspension of service has been changed. Under this policy, reserving seven or more trips within any month and no-showing and/or late-canceling three or more (40 percent) of those scheduled trips will be considered a “pattern or practice” of missed trips and a violation of our No-Show/Late Cancellation policy. Violations of this policy occurring within the same rolling 12-month period may lead to suspensions that run from two months (for a first violation) to three years (for a fourth violation). Prior to suspension, customers receive a notice of suspension and have an opportunity to appeal their suspension.
Subscription Service Policy
This service is designed for customers who travel from the same location to the same destination at the same time of day for each trip, at least one day a week. Trips on subscription service are prescheduled. Under this revised policy, customers will maintain subscription service unless they cancel 40 percent or more of their trips in any two consecutive months (with a minimum of seven trips a month) or if there is a consistent pattern of cancellations of any part of a subscription. Customers still retain the right to request advance reservation trips.
Canceling Same-Day Trips
Customers are responsible for canceling advance-reservation trips and subscription trips no later than three hours before a scheduled pick-up by calling 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (customers who are deaf call through the relay), pressing #1 for English and #2 for Spanish, then pressing #5 for Transit Control.
Your AAR ID Card
Your Access-A-Ride ID card is an important tool. Show it to your operator prior to boarding to ensure you are on the correct vehicle.
When you receive your AAR ID, please check it for accuracy. Questions or concerns about your card can be answered by calling 877-337-2017; press #1 for English, then press #1 again to speak with eligibility staff.
The back of your ID card reads:
“The person identified on this card has been determined in accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR Part 37 and may be entitled to receive paratransit service subject to the provisions thereof. AAR customers pay a reduced fare on MTA New York City Transit subways and buses (local and express). If certified to travel with a PCA, the PCA rides free.”
You may have thought about riding the bus, but hesitated to try your first trip alone. Perhaps you've had concerns about using the bus lift, finding your way, getting help from the bus operator, or knowing when you've reached your stop.
Many people with disabilities can ride the bus or subway after completing travel training. MTA New York City Transit currently funds Independence Care System (ICS) to train paratransit customers to travel by bus or subway to and from a destination that they visit often. Bus and subway customers don’t have to call in advance for a trip, and can change their travel schedule or destination anytime.
Even if you’ve never used the bus or subway before, it’s never too late to increase your travel independence. To apply for travel training or for more information, call Loreen Loonie, ICS director of community relations, 212-584-2548.
Subscription Customers Alert!
If you plan to take a trip on any of the following days (see below), you must call reservations and reserve your trip. Subscription trips are automatically cancelled on the following holidays:
New Year's Eve Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day.
- Have exact fare ready along with your ID.
- Prior to pick-up, you may call Transit Control at 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (customers who are deaf call through the relay) to get the name of your carrier, the vehicle number, and your trip status. When the recorded message begins, press "1" for English or "2" for Spanish, and then press "5." You will be connected to a customer information agent (CIA).
- Be at your pick-up location ready to travel at your scheduled pick-up time. If you need to take an elevator or walk a distance to your pick-up location, please allow extra time.
- Be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes after your pick-up time. The 30-minute waiting period begins at your scheduled pick-up time and ends 30 minutes later. (AAR vehicles arriving during this time are considered on time). When the vehicle arrives, please show the driver your AAR ID card and pay the exact fare before you board.
- The driver must wait five minutes after your scheduled pick-up time, even if he/she arrives earlier. Drivers arriving after your scheduled pick-up time must also wait five minutes before leaving.
- Dispatchers are requested to call you. If you do not appear, the driver will leave.
- You may call Transit Control during the 30-minute waiting period to inquire about your vehicle’s location and its estimated time of arrival (ETA).
- If it is more than 30 minutes after your scheduled pick-up time, contact Transit Control. A CIA will tell you the ETA or will locate another AAR vehicle to pick you up. If no AAR vehicle is available within a reasonable time, the CIA can authorize your calling a taxi or car service.
January 15, 2008
- Tom Charles reported that the number of completed trips in 2007 increased 15.8%, compared to an 18.9% increase in 2005. The increase was less than anticipated because of the ten-day strike during December 2007.
- To provide as many trips as possible during the strike by four carriers, AAR authorized more taxi and car service trips and shifted other trips to non-striking carriers.
- The PAC commended AAR for maintaining a high level of service despite the strike—providing all subscription trips and 80% of other trips that were requested.
- After hearing the PAC’s concerns about contracted Black Car Service (BCS) not always accommodating service animals, Tom responded that those service providers could be penalized. He added that customers who have concerns about BCS should follow AAR’s complaint procedure.
March 18, 2008
- Tom Charles cited statistics showing that the number of completed trips continued to grow, even through the winter season. The strike caused no-shows to increase in December 2007.
- Responding to PAC concerns about drivers who are afraid of guide dogs, Tom Charles agreed to circulate a positive message to carriers about service animals.
- The call center, now at peak operation, will be upgraded. The upgrade will enable AAR to handle more calls and to contact customers automatically with reminders about certifier trips and subscription service changes during certain holidays.
- The meeting ended with a discussion of drivers’ schedules and a review of the factors that determine when drivers can take their work breaks.
May 20, 2008
A PowerPoint presentation by Bobby Samuel about the Automatic Vehicle Location Monitoring system (AVLM) was featured. AVLM is operating in 700 vehicles from Maggies, Starcruiser, Atlantic, and PTM (Professional).
- The PAC received copies of the AVLM presentation and examined an actual AVLM terminal, which is bolted to the vehicle. Although the AVLM sound can be turned off, the terminal itself remains on. In a city-wide emergency, text messaging displayed on the AVLM can instruct the driver to take a different route.
- Drivers use AVLM as a guide; it can re-route them if they make an error. AVLM can store data about vehicle location for years, and can “flashback” to determine exactly where a vehicle was at a given time. This will help resolve disputed no-shows. AVLM data can also be analyzed to calculate a vehicle’s rate of speed.
- The PAC learned about developments in AVLM technology. An interactive voice response system (IVR) is about two years away; it will phone customers when their vehicle is close to the pick-up site.
- A change in the Late Cancellation Policy under consideration would allow customers to cancel within three hours before their scheduled trip without penalization. (Note: The change is now official. Click here for the details).
- As soon as PAC receives completed questionnaires from prospective new members, it will fill vacancies.
To get information about applying to serve on the PAC, to share suggestions, or to ask about AAR policy, please contact Stephanie L. White, chair, c/o Denise Ann McQuade, 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201,
or e-mail Denise.McQuade@nyct.com.
Note: Click here for a picture of the Leaders of the PAC
Your Cell Phone: An Important Aid During AAR Trips
Remember to keep your cell phone on before and during your AAR trips. When unexpected things happen,
call AAR at 877-337-2017; press #1 for English or #2 for Spanish, then press # 5 for Transit Control.
Shopping Carts, Bags/Parcels and Bulky Items
Customers must fold shopping carts before they board AAR vehicles. They may also carry on no more than two bags/parcels weighing a total of 40 lbs or less. Bulky items aren’t allowed on an AAR vehicle, even items that weigh less than 40 lbs, total. Customers also can’t board with an item that takes up a seat or is a safety hazard.
Report Changes in Contact Information, Equipment or Other Information
Do you have a new address or apartment number? Did you buy a cell phone? Have you changed your telephone or cell phone number? Are you using a new piece of equipment? Do you now travel with a service animal? Are there special instructions you need placed in your record permanently? For example, a customer who is blind may request that "driver call out upon arrival" be put in her or his record. Call 877-337-2017, press #1 for English; then press #1 to speak with eligibility staff and update your records.
AAR passengers must wear seatbelts when the vehicle is moving. If the standard AAR seatbelts do not fit around you, request a seatbelt extender by calling 877-337-2017; press "1" for English; then press "1" again to speak with eligibility staff.
A Trip's Maximum Ride Time is Based on Trip Distance
The chart below indicates the time a customer can anticipate being on a vehicle.
|Miles||Maximum Ride Time|
|0 to 3 miles||50 minutes|
|3 to 6 miles||1 hour 5 minutes|
|6 to 9 miles||1 hour 35 minutes|
|9 to 12 miles||1 hour 55 minutes|
|12 to 14 miles||2 hours 15 minutes|
|Greater than 14 miles||2 hours 35 minutes|
Please remember snow, icy roads, rain, and fog all cause traffic delays. It is advisable to avoid unnecessary travel when these weather conditions prevail. If you must travel, allow more travel time when reserving a trip; anticipate pick-up delays, and late-and-longer ride times.
Waiting Time for Return Trips
When you travel within a borough and must arrive at your destination at a specific time, you can reserve a return trip one hour after your appointment time. Example: Your appointment time is 10 a.m. You can reserve an 11 a.m. return.
When you do not have to arrive at your destination at a specific time, your return trip can be reserved one hour and 30 minutes after your scheduled pick-up time. Example:Your pick-up time is 10 a.m. You can reserve an 11:30 a.m. return.
When you travel from one borough to another and you must arrive at your destination at a specific time, you can reserve a return trip one hour and 30 minutes after your appointment time. Example: Your appointment time is 10 a.m. You can reserve an 11:30 a.m. return. When you do not have to arrive at your destination at a specific time, your return trip can be reserved two hours after the scheduled pick-up time. Example: Your pick-up time is 10 a.m. You reserve a noon return.
As long as the driver doesn’t lose sight of the vehicle and is not more than 100 feet away from it, the driver should help you get to and from the vehicle, help you go up or down the curb or one step, and assist you when boarding. The driver can carry one or two bags/parcels weighing a total of 40 lbs or less to the outside door of your destination. However, a driver will not enter any buildings. Personal care attendants are expected to provide assistance with these tasks when traveling with customers.
Need More Information About AAR?
If your organization has 15 or more people interested in learning more about AAR service, please call Russell Schmid at 718-393-4130 or Donna Fredericksen at 718-393-4147 to arrange for a presentation.
Ask for these publications:
- Guide to Access-A-Ride
- The Accessible Connection (large print) summer 2008
- Drivers and Customers Can Make Everyone’s Ride Better
- Telephone Directory for Customers with Disabilities
- On the Move (additional copies)
Write or call
NYC Transit Customer Services
2 Broadway, 11th Floor, Room D11.03
New York, NY 10004
Tel. 718-330-3322, or TTY 718-596-8273
Request On The Move in Braille or on audiotape by calling Michael Levy at 718-393-4148, or you may
download it at the MTA website www.mta.info.
Subway Map for Customers with Disabilities
Request copies of the Subway Map for Customers with Disabilities by calling 212-878-7483.
Your questions and comments are welcome.
Please send them to:
On the Move
MTA NYC Transit Paratransit Division
130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
Leaders of the PAC
Click here for a complete list of the free publications.
Quick-and-Easy Phone Tips (Tear off to keep handy) See attachment
Call 877-337-2017 toll-free from area codes 212, 718, 347, 516, 631, 646, 914, and 845. From other area codes, dial 718-393-4999. Customers who are deaf call through the relay.
Press 1 for English,
or press 2 for Spanish then:
Press 1: Application Information
Press 2: Reservations
Press 3: Change reservation
Press 4: Cancel reservation by 5 p.m.the day before your trip
Press 5: Cancel same-day trip less than three hours before scheduled pick-up or for help with same-day problems
Press 6: Subscription service
This is a publication of MTA New York City Transit
Howard H. Roberts, Jr. – President
Joseph J. Smith – senior vice president, department of buses
Thomas J. Charles – vice president, paratransit division
Carol Zwick and Denise Ann McQuade – senior editors
Michael Levy and Donna Fredericksen – editors
Clif Militello – art director