Sunday’s New York Post featured a story about how the MTA is denying more Access-A-Ride claims. To be more specific, the agency denied 13% of applicants in 2013 which is nearly double the rate from 5 years ago. Stephen M. Joseph and Michael Gartland of the New York Post have more:
The MTA denied 13 percent of Access-A-Ride applicants in 2013 — almost 7,000 New Yorkers — more than double the denial rate from five years ago.
And it’s no coincidence the agency began enforcing stricter eligibility requirements for disabled riders at the same time its overall $12 billion budget shrank $900 million in 2010.
“When we slashed the budget, everything took a hit,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said. “Para-transit took a hit too . . . We started enforcing medical eligibility more strictly. Our medical professionals were reminded of the existing rules and criteria.”
Other changes included re-assessing eligibility on a trip-by-trip basis and steering participants to subways and buses.
The crackdown is not sitting well with rejected applicants.
“What’s the sense in having Access-A-Ride if they keep you from getting it?” said Rita Gibson, 65, who claims to suffer from a herniated disc and uses a walker to get around.
Click here for the complete report.
I admit that a big part of me feels this sensational journalism which would be nothing new considering the source. I have covered the Access-A-Ride fraud issues that were running rampant in the past.
While the article makes no mention of fraud, I would not be surprised if some of the denied requests fell under that category. This is a program which no matter how you slice it is a money pit for the agency. The services are warranted but better policing needs to be put in place. If only a different company could run it & leave the MTA to handle the many other responsibilities it has.
xoxo Transit Blogger