New Access-A-Ride Vehicle Debuts

The MTA has purchased 30 new MV-1 vans for use by the Paratransit Division in order to determine their suitability as replacement vehicles for older Access-A-Ride vans.

New York City Transit's Department of Buses ordered the MV-1 as the first purpose-built vehicle for both ambulatory and mobility impaired customers to meet ADA vehicle guidelines. It seats up to four passengers with a dedicated space for a wheelchair or scooter situated next to the operator. The MV-1 features a large doorway with a low step-in for easy entry and a fully integrated power ramp with a 1,200 pound capacity.

The 15 MV-1 gas-powered and 15 MV-1 compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles began arriving in December and are now ready for the road. Paratransit operates a fleet of 1,970 vehicles, 1,300 of which are vans with wheelchair accessibility.

"We are always looking at new ways to reduce operating costs and increase flexibility," said MTA New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast, "while at the same time delivering a safe and efficient Paratransit service for our customers."

The designer, developer and marketer of the MV-1 is the Vehicle Production Group (VPG) and is being manufactured by AM General. President of MTA Bus & Senior Vice President of NYCT Buses, Darryl Irick, stated, "The purpose of this test fleet is to evaluate the MV-1's reliability, maintainability and fuel economy. All major components and structures will be inspected on a monthly basis, along with a complete review of all fuel efficiencies and operational costs."

City fuel economy for the gasoline-powered MV-1 is approximately 15 miles per gallon (MPG) and 13 MPG for the CNG-powered MV-1 as compared to 7 MPG for the AAR vans currently in use. The gasoline-powered vehicles will be distributed among three carriers: All Transit, GVGII and StarCruiser. They are scheduled to go into service during the week of January 29. The CNG-powered vehicles will be divided between MVP Transportation Inc. and Columbus Transit LLC. and will begin serving customers in mid-February.

"There is much enthusiasm within the disabled community about the arrival of this vehicle," said Vice President of Paratransit, Thomas Charles. "Approximately 15% percent of our Access-A-Ride customers use wheelchairs or scooters and another 5% who cannot use steps to board vehicles. Last year, 1.6 million trips, or one of every four scheduled trips, required a lift-equipped vehicle. We believe our customers will be pleased with the ride in the MV-1."

"The MV-1 is the first and only vehicle built from the ground up to be wheelchair-accessible and built to ADA guidelines," said Fred Drasner, Chairman and CEO of the Vehicle Production Group." We're thankful to the MTA for their consideration of the MV-1 as part of their Access-A-Ride program. With an integrated ramp, seating for up to five passengers and an environmentally-friendly compressed natural gas engine option, the MV-1 is the ultimate mobility solution for the streets of New York -- one that we believe will help improve the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities."

Paratransit is a division of MTA New York City Transit's Department of Buses.