In letter to MTA, Goldfeder supports recommendations by city Comptroller to install GPS tracking technology on Access-A-Ride contractor vehicles to improve service, hold providers accountable
Assemblyman cites “dozens” of calls to his office by Access-A-Ride customers frustrated by delayed or canceled rides and byzantine appeals process
Howard Beach, Queens – Following the release of an alarming new audit by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer into the performance of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Access-A-Ride program, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Howard Beach) is calling on the MTA to implement the Comptroller’s recommendations for reforming the paratransit service.
“Here in southern Queens and Rockaway we have severely limited access to transportation and one of the largest senior populations in the entire city,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “Many of our seniors and persons with disabilities depend on this program that does not provide them with the adequate service they need and deserve. I applaud Comptroller Stringer for shedding light on the problems that plague Access-A-Ride and I urge the MTA to implement the recommendations of this new audit.”
In a letter to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast, Assemblyman Goldfeder called on the transit agency to consider implementing recommendations made by Comptroller Stringer in a new audit showing widespread instances of driver no-shows and alleged false reporting of on-time performance by Access-A-Ride contractors. Specifically, Goldfeder urged the MTA to require the installation of GPS tracking systems in Access-A-Ride vehicles. Citing the Comptroller’s report, Goldfeder argued that the move would improve performance and prevent contractor billing for no-show rides.
According to Goldfeder, his office has received dozens of complaints from local residents about a host of issues with the Access-A-Ride program, including repeat late arrivals, no-shows and issues with the appeals process. In one particularly egregious case, a constituent of Goldfeder reported missing chemotherapy appointments due to late arrivals and rides lasting as long as four hours. In another, a handicapped rider reported frequent late arrivals that her Access-A-Ride drivers reportedly attributed to getting lost due to not having GPS services available in their vehicles.
These concerns were reflected in the audit by Comptroller Stringer, which uncovered more than 31,000 vehicle no-shows. This, the report noted, is more than double the rate allowed to providers in their contracts with the program, which the federal government mandates under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The MTA complies with the law by relying on private carriers to pick up passengers in lift-equipped vans or ramp-equipped vehicles that can be reserved by phone.
No-shows falsely reported by providers as missed trips can have devastating consequences for those with limited mobility. Under the program, the MTA can suspend riders for up to a week for showing a pattern of missed trips, with repeat violations resulting in longer suspensions. In addition to GPS tracking to prevent the no-shows, the Comptroller’s audit also recommends terminating providers that inaccurately report trip and vehicle data, as well as consider implementing “alternatives to the existing service model.”
“Missing a ride or losing your Access-A-Ride service can mean the difference between getting to a doctor’s appointment and not receiving the services you need. That’s why ensuring good service is key to providing every person with the tools they need to lead productive, independent lives,” concluded Goldfeder.
Howard Beach, Queens – Following the release of an alarming new audit by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer into the performance of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Access-A-Ride program, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D – Howard Beach) is calling on the MTA to implement the Comptroller’s recommendations for reforming the paratransit service