MTA To Invest In Wheelchair Friendly SUV’s

As one who follows the MTA’s operations pretty strongly on a regular basis, I understand their costs & debt are not limited to the standard things most riders think. One of their biggest cost issues actually comes from a service that does not get much publicity at all, Access-A-Ride.

The Access-A-Ride program, while extremely vital, has been a money burner for the agency for some time now. When the service does make the news, it is usually in an unflattering light such as when it was exposed that the service was being used for trips to Empire City!

The service is once again in the news but for what the MTA hopes is a positive reason. The agency will be investing in wheelchair friendly SUV’s which will help them lower the average cost of an Access-A-Ride use to $45 per person instead of the current $60. Jeremy Smerd of Crain’s New York has more:

The Taxi & Limousine Commission has not embraced the MV-1, the only car designed and built to be wheelchair-accessible, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has.

By January, the MTA hopes to have 30 MV-1 wheelchair-accessible sport-utility vehicles on the streets—15 of which will be powered by compressed natural gas. The $40,000 cars, made by Miami-based Vehicle Production Group, cost 60% less than Access-a-Ride vans.

The cars are part of an effort to lower the cost of paratransit rides to $45 per person from around $60. The cost of providing Access-a-Ride service, which is required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, has skyrocketed nearly 148% since 2006 to $472 million this year.

The TLC won’t approve new vehicles while it commissions automakers to build the Taxi of Tomorrow.

The MV-1 can hold up to two wheelchairs and has a back bench seat that can seat three people. IT will go into production this fall.

Click here for the complete report.

I applaud the agency for looking at positive ways to cut down the costs of the albatross known as Access-A-Ride. As I said, the service is of vital importance but the costs are completely out of hand.

These SUV’s look interesting but I would like to hear or read more about the actual costs & savings that could come with their use. Has the agency done a thorough cost-analysis report? Before giving a complete thumbs up, I would like to find out more specifics.

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