Assemblywoman Malliotakis stands with local Access-A-Ride subscribers, along with Aida Nicolaou, Executive Director of St. Nicholas Home (second from right), and Peter Killen, President of Bay Ridge AARP (far right).
BAY RIDGE Resulting from numerous community forums held by Assemblywoman Malliotakis (R,C,I-Brooklyn/Staten Island) on the Access-A-Ride program, meetings with Access-A-Ride subscribers, along with over 63 constituent complaints addressed by her office, the assemblywoman has compiled a report with her recommendations on how the program can be improved.
At a press conference today at the St. Nicholas Home, Assemblywoman Malliotakis presented her recommendations which include:
- Shifting more rides from Paratransit vehicles to car service sedans to reduce costs and provide better service;
- Taking quality of service into consideration when issuing contracts;
- Increasing outreach to maximize contracts with car service providers, as many seniors do not know this is an option;
- Reinstating car service option for outer-borough trips with a trip limit per month to avoid abuse;
- Requiring GPS devices in all vehicles to identify fastest routes and avoid getting lost;
- Expanding current notification service when a vehicle is running late, and extending the 5-minute wait time;
- Streamlining recertification process, and providing permanent certification to users whose conditions will not improve over time;
- Implementing door-to-door service rather than drop-offs to nearest public transportation;
- Establishing a workgroup or local riders advisory committee; and
- Adding an Access-A-Ride rider representative to the MTA Board.
The MTA Access-A-Ride program presently serves over 160,000 elderly and disabled who rely on this service to be with family, shop for essentials, and meet with their doctors. Over the years, the program has made efforts to reduce costs and reduce complaints, but more can and needs to be done to increase efficiency and quality, said Malliotakis. It is my hope that the MTA will give these recommendations their fullest attention and adopt as many as possible into their operating procedure. I believe their implementation will lead to a better Access-A-Ride service and improved quality of life for the most vulnerable members of the MTAs ridership.
Assemblywoman Malliotakis and I constantly discuss ways to make our transportation system more reliable and cost efficient. I would urge the Paratransit officials to continue to work toward these goals by seriously considering the suggestions outlined in her report! added MTA Board member Allen Cappelli.