Access-A-Ride can take riders anywhere, even the casino - New York News

Access-A-Ride can take riders anywhere, even the casino

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Serious questions are being raised about whether a government program designed to give the disabled greater opportunities and access has turned into a private chauffeur service, with regular bus and subway riders picking up the half-billion-dollar tab even though the practice is perfectly legal and no one is breaking any rules.

You've probably seen Access-A-Ride vans on the streets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They take disabled people wherever they want to go for the same $2.50 price as a subway or bus fare. And that even includes unlimited trips to the casino.

As long as the passenger has an Access-A-Ride card from the MTA, the driver is not allowed to question their disability or their destination, which is given to them on a trip manifest.

The MTA provides Access-A-Ride to comply with federal regulations, according to Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She said it is mandated by federal law so that the disabled can get equivalent transportation service.

The Access-A-Ride vans are allowed to go anywhere in the city. That includes the ResortsWorld Casino in Ozone Park. On three separate occasions we spotted six different vans dropping off or picking up people.

The MTA said the average Access-A-Ride trip costs $51, and there is no limit to how often someone can use it, or for what purpose.

"It's not within the government's job to say if this is a good thing or a bad thing -- you can go anywhere the subway or bus goes," Gelinas said.

The MTA said it is trying to provide transit services to the disabled while reining in costs. The agency said the 2013 budget is $491,930. In 2014, the MTA expects that to rise to $515,180. That is about half a billion dollars to service the 163,759 people in the program, or about $3,003 a year per person. The MTA has made buses easier for disabled riders to use, and some subway stations have elevators.

Gelinas said that is the way to go.

"The more you make the regular mass transit able to accommodate everyone, the less you need these vans," she said.

The MTA is also trying to encourage the disabled to use more taxis and livery car services when possible by issuing vouchers. The agency is also rolling out a plan over the next 18 months to give Access-A-Ride participants free MetroCards to take mass transit.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Wedding reception at country club ends with brawl

    Wedding reception at country club ends with brawl

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:37 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:37:23 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    Police say they're investigating a large brawl that broke out at the end of a wedding reception held over the weekend at a suburban Buffalo country club. Officials tell local media that seven different police agencies were called in late Saturday to break up the fight at the Orchard Park Country Club. Officers say dozens of the approximately 200 guests were involved in the melee, which broke out after a member of the wedding party was tossed off the premises for inappropriate behavior.
    Police say they're investigating a large brawl that broke out at the end of a wedding reception held over the weekend at a suburban Buffalo country club. Officials tell local media that seven different police agencies were called in late Saturday to break up the fight at the Orchard Park Country Club. Officers say dozens of the approximately 200 guests were involved in the melee, which broke out after a member of the wedding party was tossed off the premises for inappropriate behavior.
  • Trump Plaza closes; mogul Donald Trump may step in

    Trump Plaza closes; mogul Donald Trump may step in

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:23 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:23:53 GMT
    A fourth Atlantic City casino has gone out of business.  Trump Plaza shut its doors at 6 a.m. Tuesday.  The casino at the center of the Boardwalk and the end of the Atlantic City Expressway has been declining for years, performing worse than any of the city's other casinos.
    A fourth Atlantic City casino has gone out of business.  Trump Plaza shut its doors at 6 a.m. Tuesday.  The casino at the center of the Boardwalk and the end of the Atlantic City Expressway has been declining for years, performing worse than any of the city's other casinos. Real estate mogul Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he left Atlantic City years ago but may return.
  • Street gangs tone down use of colors, tattoos

    Street gangs tone down use of colors, tattoos

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:19 AM EDT2014-09-16 12:19:09 GMT
    Law enforcement officials from coast to coast say street gangs are shying away from wearing their colors and are covering up or even altering their tattoos to avoid detection by police.  Hartford, Connecticut, Police Sgt. Johnmichael O'Hare says gone are the days when the Bloods wore red from head to toe. All you'll see now, he says, is maybe a red handkerchief sticking out of a back pocket.


    Law enforcement officials from coast to coast say street gangs are shying away from wearing their colors and are covering up or even altering their tattoos to avoid detection by police.  Hartford, Connecticut, Police Sgt. Johnmichael O'Hare says gone are the days when the Bloods wore red from head to toe. All you'll see now, he says, is maybe a red handkerchief sticking out of a back pocket.


Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices