Access-A-Ride Users Spared Huge Fare Increase

Over the last number of months, the main focus of this blog has been on the dire financial crisis within the MTA. Part of this focus was centered on the possible enactment of a “doomsday scenario” which included massive fare hikes & service cuts. One ot the potential fare hikes that did not get as much press was the plan to increase Access-A-Ride fares to twice the regular transit base fare. This proposal was met with obvious disdain.

However Access-A-Ride users may be the only group to have something to celebrate. According to a report by Pete Donohue in today’s New York Daily News, the MTA plans to shelve the proposal which would have lead to a $5 fare:

The MTA is shelving an unpopular plan to more than double the fare disabled riders pay for door-to-door van service, the Daily News has learned.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority finance committee is still scheduled to vote Monday on higher fares for subways, buses and commuter trains scheduled to go into effect June 1.

But a separate provision jacking up the Access-A-Ride fare to $5 from $2 is no longer part of the package, a staff summary obtained by The News reveals.

Transit officials now plan to raise the van service fee by 50 cents. That would keep it equal to the cost of a one-way bus or subway trip, which is slated to rise to $2.50.

Fare hikes of all stripes were blasted during public hearings in the city and surrounding counties this year, yet the Access-A-Ride provision stoked the greatest outrage.

Disabled riders, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, city Controller William Thompson and other officials urged the MTA to spare the service’s 25,000 daily riders.

The staff summary doesn’t acknowledge the strong criticism generated by the original Access-A-Ride proposal. Instead, it says staffers couldn’t get the necessary paperwork and approvals completed in time for this month’s MTA committee and full board meetings.

An Access-A-Ride fare greater than the subway/bus fare requires approval by the mayor and the federal government, authorities have said.

The staff summary suggests the authority will pursue the regulatory approvals while seeking savings in the program along with City Hall.

Click here for the complete report.

Congratulations to those riders being spared such a dramatic fare increase. I only wish the rest of us would be as lucky. However this does not look like it will be the case. First we had Gov. Patterson throwing in the towel on the MTA being bailed out. Then literally within the last 15-20 minutes, the MTA Finance Committee approving a recommendation of the “doomsday scenario” budget to the full MTA Board on Wednesday. I will talk about these two things shortly.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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