Accessibility strengthens our transit system, and it's the right thing to do. As a conduit to employment, opportunity, culture and community, transit should give all members of the public a reliable way to travel. An accessible system benefits us all, because at some point, many people will find getting around more challenging — it could be because we use a wheelchair, or have vision or hearing loss, or are elderly and have trouble climbing stairs, or have a cognitive disability, or have a baby in a stroller, or any number of other challenges.
- New sensitivity training for all employees in the next year, with targeted training for station agents, Paratransit and bus operators, and others.
More direct routes
- New Access-A-Ride scheduling and dispatch system by end of 2019.
- 50+ new accessible stations within 5 years, so all subway riders are no more than two stops from an accessible station.
- Enhanced elevator outage and alternate routing information on website, kiosks, email, mobile app and text alerts by end of 2018.
- Executive Accessibility Advisor, reporting directly to the President, hired by end 2018.
Why? Because for too long people with disabilities have felt that their concerns and needs have not been adequately heard and addressed by our transit system.
- Hire an executive-level Accessibility Advisor, reporting directly to the President, responsible for ensuring accessibility is considered and advanced across our transit system.
- Engage the accessibility community in critical decisions including the design of new vehicles, the design of our new fare payment system, and how we evolve the role of station agents outside of booths.
- Expand training on working with customers with visible and invisible disabilities. This includes new sensitivity training for all 50,000 NYCT employees to be completed in the next year, and targeted training for station agents, Paratransit operators, platform controllers, and local and express bus operators. There will also be enhanced training for bus operators on the operation of wheelchair lifts.
Commit to a clear plan and timeline
for station accessibility
Why? Because the subway should be accessible to everyone. While installing elevators at stations is complicated and expensive, we have a responsibility to make as much of our system accessible as quickly as possible. Our plans in this area build on the work of the MTA Board Work Group on Station Accessibility.
- Create a prioritized plan based on a study of all remaining inaccessible stations, using criteria defined in consultation with the accessibility community. The plan will consider the need for property, street and/or sidewalk space for elevator installation.
- Increase coverage so that all subways customers are no more than 2 stations away from an accessible station within 5 years.
- Increase the rate at which elevators are being installed at stations to make them accessible, from 19 in the current five-year Capital Program to more than 50 in the next 5 year program, with the goal of achieving maximum possible accessibility in 15 years.
Make Paratransit Responsive
Why? Because our Access-A-Ride customers should be able to expect fast, reliable, friendly service, just like any user of our transit system. Our plans in this area build on the work of the MTA Board Access-A-Ride Work Group.
- Simplify processes for Access-A-Ride customers, including reevaluating the application process and reviewing the need for reassessments.
Provide ride-hailing options for eligible Access-A-Ride customers, expanding on the current pilot program in a cost-efficient manner.
Modernize scheduling and dispatching of dedicated service and third-party vehicles to enable more direct and flexible routing.
Launch an accessible, all-in-one MyAAR app which makes it easy for customers to schedule rides, track vehicles, give feedback and update account information. The app, which is slated for release in summer 2018, was developed in consultation with our AAR customers.
Allow Access-A-Ride vehicles to use bus lanes, in coordination with the NYC Department of Transportation.
Improve communication for people with disabilities
Why? Because when you have a disability and you take transit, communication can be the difference between a maze of dead ends and a system you can depend on.
- Provide clear instructions about alternate routes in the event of an elevator closure, elevator breakdown, or other unexpected barrier to mobility.
- Improve accuracy and availability of real-time information about elevators and escalators on our website, in apps, and in digital signage.
- Provide customer-friendly materials for customers with disabilities, including clear information about how to use the system and opportunities to practice using bus wheelchair lifts in a safe environment.
Upgrade accessibility features throughout the system
Why? Because accessibility for people with disabilities is about much more than elevators - it's about consistent design that aids mobility for those with mobility devices, vision loss, hearing loss, and cognitive and other invisible disabilities.
- Accelerate installation of consistent accessibility features, including installing tactile strips on platform edges, reducing platform edge gaps, and increasing announcements that are presented both visually and through clear, understandable audio.
- Consider accessibility in our bus network redesign, including considering demographics and community needs and working with NYC Department of Transportation on the placement and design of new bus shelters.
- Revise maintenance practices to make elevators and wheelchair lifts more reliable.
- Identify options to redesign fare gates for improved access, including allowing autogate to accept all fare types and providing wider turnstile/gates.