Winter/Spring 2006 All the news on Access-A-Ride Volume 3
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On September 13, 2005, Millard L. Seay, senior vice president, Department of Buses, announced my appointment as vice president of the Paratransit Division.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to address our AAR customers through On The Move. My predecessor, Howard S. Ende, introduced many improvements to AAR service and established a viable organization to address the needs of our customers. As I listen to customers and representatives from the disabled community about their varied experiences using AAR service, I am aware that more needs to be accomplished. I want each customer to know that we at Paratransit are working to continue to improve the reliability and quality of AAR service.
At present, we are experiencing a high demand for AAR service with a most recent record-breaking day of 15,900 scheduled trips. Surprisingly, only 2,030 were trips pre-scheduled under "subscription service." The other trips were reserved through telephone calls to our advance reservation call center.
At the time of each phone call for a trip request, the computerized scheduling program places the trip onto a route. Although certain factors such as location, traffic patterns and roadway speeds provide boundaries for the scheduling program to make good decisions, the key information for the specific trip is known only at the time of the phone call. When you use subscription service, we know the information for each trip ahead of time. This helps us to better schedule trips so that you can travel in the most timely and direct way.
This service is offered to any customer who travels from the same location to the same destination at the same time of day for each trip at least one day a week. According to our records, many of our customers have a pattern of trips that would be ideal for subscription service. This is why we will be conducting an outreach campaign during the spring to enroll as many customers as we can in subscription service.
The benefits are many. If all or certain trips are subscription service, there is no need for you to call the advance reservation call center. You only need to call when you are canceling a trip or if you won't require the trips for a week or more. The information regarding your trips will benefit the development of schedules that allow for improved reliability and flexibility to address changes in traffic or the delivery of AAR service.
We want to promote subscription service so much that we are changing the policy on excessive cancellations. If you cancel 60 percent of your trips within any two successive months, you would return to requesting your trips with phone calls to the advance reservation call center. If your cancellations are under 60 percent of your scheduled trips, you remain on subscription service. You also have the opportunity to place subscription trips on hold for one week or more when you plan a vacation or have a commitment that will not require AAR service. If your trip pattern changes, you can call us with the new information.
We will be calling or meeting with many customers throughout the next few months to provide more information and, hopefully, to convince you that subscription service is right for you.
March 2, 1990 was an ordinary day for most New Yorkers. "It was a Friday, the sky was blue, and it was a little chilly," recalled Patty Sprofera.
For Patty, the day was far from ordinary. It was the day she took her first paratransit subscription service trip from her home in Queens to her job at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in Manhattan.
"Some people along the route asked if the vehicle was some kind of charter traveling to Atlantic City," Patty laughed. She added that far from being a gamble, paratransit subscription service has been a real winner for her. Through subscription service, Patty's weekday AAR trips to and from work are automatically scheduled. "It's wonderful not to have to call every day for each trip," Patty enthused. She explained that less time on the phone meant more time to help consumers as UCP's administrative assistant to the director of family support. She doesn't need to interrupt her lunch to schedule an AAR trip for the next day.
Subscription service works well for AAR customers who travel to and from the same destination at the same time one to seven days per week. They may go to work, attend college, participate in senior center activities, visit doctors or rehabilitation facilities, worship at religious services or bring cheer to loved ones in nursing homes.
AAR subscription service has helped Patty Sprofera in her successful career. For others, it has led to greater educational opportunities, participation in the community and a stronger network of family and friends.
For more information, or to obtain an application for subscription service, call 877-337-2017.
The PAC met in July, September, and November 2005. At the July meeting the PAC met Thomas J. Charles, vice president, Paratransit Division. Members spent most of the meeting commenting on and suggesting improvements to the design of the vans they tested prior to the meeting. One was a small Sprinter van with a lift at the rear, one wheelchair position and three seats. The other van had three wheelchair positions and two bench seats. In addition, Stephanie L. White, acting chair, was elected chair and David DePorte was elected vice chair.
The September meeting focused on the effect that an increase in trip demand (resulting in 14,000 trips a day) was having on service and steps Paratransit is taking to meet the increased demand. For example, Paratransit is buying more vehicles, stepping-up monitoring of carriers and drivers with high no-shows, and conducting a campaign to increase subscription service.
The November meeting focused on Transit Control, which monitors same day service issues. Dennis Erkus, command center officer, gave a presentation about the structure and function of Transit Control. After a question and answer session, the PAC toured Transit Control.
Customers wishing to communicate with PAC can write to
Stephanie L. White, chair,
c/o D. A. Mc Quade,
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
or e-mail her at Denise.McQuade@nyct.com.
The 15-member PAC is composed of customers and representatives from major disability organizations from the five boroughs of New York City, including Disabled in Action and the Disability Network of New York City. PAC meetings are held the third Tuesday of every other month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at our offices. Between meetings, members communicate with each other via a listserv on the Internet.
Customers interested in serving on the PAC should be familiar with ADA transportation regulations, have good analytical skills and be able to review or formulate policies and procedures and offer suggestions for improving service. They should also be able to work cooperatively in a group. If you have the above qualifications, send a cover letter and current resume to D. A. Mc Quade, liaison to the PAC, at the above mailing address or e-mail address. Your letter should indicate why you wish to serve on the PAC and what skills or knowledge you would bring to the committee. At present there are no vacancies.
Please do not send AAR applications by express, certified or any type of special delivery mail. Staff isn't available at our mailing address to sign for mail and it will be returned to you. Rather, mail your applications regular mail to:
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The rules about pets traveling on AAR are the same as those for the subway and buses. Pets are permitted if they are in a pet carrying case. However, service animals (guide dog, signal dog, or other animal trained to work or perform tasks for you) are permitted on AAR vehicles.
Do you have a new address or apartment number? Did you buy a cell phone? Have you changed your telephone or cell phone number? Has your mobility equipment (walker, manual wheelchair, power chair or scooter, crutches, cane and so forth) changed? Do you now travel with a service animal?
Are there special instructions you need permanently placed in your record? For example, a customer who is blind may request that "driver call out upon arrival" be put in her or his record. These changes must be reported to Paratransit Customer Information at 877-337-2017. Press #1 when you hear the recorded message and a staff person will update your records.
Be sure to carry your AAR ID with you at all times. Drivers are instructed to check your ID and collect the fare during the boarding process. This is to ensure you are entering a vehicle that has your reservation.
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|
Subscription trips are automatically cancelled on the following holidays:
New Year's Eve Day
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Eve Day
If you plan to take a trip on any of the above days, you must call reservations and reserve your trip.
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 and anticipate pick-up delays, late and longer ride times.
If you haven't been picked up after waiting 30 minutes from your pick-up time, call 877-337-2017. Press #1 for English and #2 for Spanish and then Press #5 for Transit Control. Ask the customer information agent (CIA) to find out an estimated time of arrival and the location of your vehicle.
If the vehicle is not expected to arrive in a reasonable period of time or you have an appointment time that will be missed, the CIA will try to find another AAR vehicle in the vicinity that can pick you up. If no vehicle is available, the CIA will authorize you to take a car service or taxi for which you will be reimbursed, unless you use a wheelchair or scooter and are unable to take a taxi or car service. In that case, you will have to wait until another AAR vehicle can be assigned to pick you up.
212, 718, 347, 516, 631, 646, 914, 845 by dialing 877-337-2017
From other area codes dial
TTY Relay 800-662-1220
TTY Reservations 718-393-4257
TTY Transit Control 718-393-4258
To request On The Move on audiotape, call Michael Levy at 718-393-4148. To download a copy of On The Move go to the MTA website www.mta.info
To request braille subway maps, call Denise Ann McQuade at 718-393-4131.
To arrange for presentations for organizations with 15 or more people call Eunice Poku 718-393-4129 or
Russell Schmid at 718-393-4130.
For any of the publications below, call NYC Transit Customer Information 718-330-3322 or write
NYC Transit Customer Services
2 Broadway, 11th Floor, Room D11.03
New York, NY 10004
- On The Move
- Access-A-Ride Paratransit Service User's Guide
Please write the editors with your questions and comments:
On The Move
MTA NYC Transit, Paratransit Division
130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
This is a publication of MTA New York City Transit
Lawrence G. Reuter - President
Millard L. Seay - senior vice president, department of buses
Thomas J. Charles - vice president, paratransit division
Carol Zwick and Denise Ann Mc Quade - editors
Clif Militello - art director