Summer/Fall 2005 All the news on Access-A-Ride Volume 2
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On Friday, July 22 the Paratransit Division moved to Long Island City without disruption of service to our 87,000 customers. However, from Friday evening July 29 until Saturday evening July 30, customers were unable to reach paratransit on the 877-337-2017 number. This was due to an inadvertent re-routing of calls by our phone provider.
In addition, paratransit has experienced intermittent times when callers to 877-337-2017
have received busy signals. We regret these disruptions in service. Our telephone service provider is working to ensure steady and continuous service.
The AAR Ready-Information Page lists our new telephone and TTY numbers. Our mailing address is:
MTA NYC Transit
Department of Buses
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Paratransit Vice President Howard S. Ende retired June 1 after 31 years of government service. Upon hearing that Mr. Ende was retiring Stanley Weinblatt, an Access-A-Ride customer from Queens and a long-time member of our Paratransit Advisory Committee (PAC) said, "Howard will be a hard act to follow." Paratransit staff, riders and advocates will miss the plain-speaking, energetic and goal-oriented enthusiasm of Mr. Ende, whose term saw significant growth in ridership and registration.
During his tenure a positive working relationship was forged with our customers and their advocates. The fostering of a cooperative working relationship between transit and the disabled community led to many service improvements, foremost of which was zero trip denials.
By Dennis Erkus, Command Center Officer, and
Carol Zwick, Customer Relations Officer
As a paratransit customer you come in contact with every part of our Command Center. The Paratransit Command Center is the center of Access-A-Ride's (AAR) daily operation. It is there that reservations are taken; trips scheduled; and same-day problems are resolved. We want you to know a little about the Command Center and introduce you to one of the staff.
The Command Center is organized into four sections: Reservations, Scheduling, Automatic vehicle location monitoring (AVLM) and Transit Control. Reservations handles trip requests. You can speak with our reservations staff seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. All trip requests and cancellations are made through them. Reservationists take and confirm up to two trip requests per person per call. Conversations between customers and reservationists are taped for monitoring purposes.
The Scheduling unit sets up Access-A-Ride routes and times for our vehicles and handles
subscription requests. Subscription service provides a customer with a permanent reservation for recurring trips. Scheduling staff reviews all our routes.
The AVLM unit's mission is to provide the Paratransit Division with a computer-based
automatic vehicle location monitoring system.
The system will monitor AAR vehicles throughout NYC. The unit is currently involved in the process of awarding the contract for work to begin on the project.
Transit Control is responsible for handling customer trip inquiries and problems on the day of service. Customer Information Agents (CIAs) provide customers with vehicle locations and estimated time of arrivals. Dispatchers from each carrier now work in the Command Center alongside the CIAs. Transit Control staff are on duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Ronald Fleurantin is a Customer Information Lead Agent and a 4-year staff member. He started as a reservationist and after a year was promoted to Transit Control. He became a lead agent more than two years ago. Lead agents assist the supervisors and monitor calls making sure CIAs follow Command Center procedures.
Ronald is a life-long resident of Brooklyn. He was born, raised and still resides in Crown Heights and is a graduate of Canarsie High School, where one of his activities was delivering for "Meals on Wheels." He received further education at Technical College Institute, and holds an Associate in Arts degree. In his spare time, he is an avid sports fan. Ronald is enthusiastic about his job, stressing that the most important part of the job in Transit Control is "sensitivity to passengers and the need to listen to passengers." He added that he loves what he does.
By Sandy Gadsden,
Director, Paratransit Reservations
An AAR customer is always able to travel with a guest and, if indicated on the AAR ID card, a personal care attendant (PCA). Most vehicles have five passenger seats and two wheelchair/scooter securement areas. The number of customers, guests and PCAs who can travel together depends upon seat availability, including the number of wheelchair securement areas available in the vehicle.
A "group trip" is when several customers travel together and leave from the same place at the same time going to the same destination. The person reserving the trip should inform the reservationist that a group trip is requested and ask to be transferred to a reservation supervisor. It is important to provide AAR ID numbers for all the customers in the group. Please indicate if a guest uses a wheelchair/scooter or other equipment.
Please remember to tell the reservation supervisor if customers are being accompanied by a guest and or traveling with a PCA. The reservation supervisor will take the group reservation and the system will search for a vehicle to accommodate the trip. If every customer in the group can be accommodated on the same vehicle, the reservation supervisor will book and confirm the trip. If not, the system will place the other group members on separate vehicles. The reservation supervisor will be able to advise whether the other group members have been placed on separate vehicles.
AAR cannot guarantee that every customer in the group will travel on the same vehicle. The opportunity for group trips is reduced as the service day approaches. However, a guest and/or PCA will always travel in the same vehicle as the customer they accompany.
A trip's maximum ride time is based on trip distance. The maximum amount of time you may be on a vehicle is listed below:
Miles Maximum Ride Time
0 to less than 3 miles 50 minutes
3 to less than 6 miles 1 hour 5 minutes
6 to less than 9 miles 1 hour 35 minutes
9 to less than 12 miles 1 hour 55 minutes
12 to less than 14 miles 2 hours 15 minutes
14 miles and greater 2 hours 35 minutes
Access-A-Ride customers who travel on the same day, at the same time, leaving from the same place, going to the same destination from 1-7 days a week should apply for "subscription service." Subscription customers do not have to call to reserve their trip. The trip is automatically scheduled each week unless they cancel or put it on hold for five days or more. For example:
Mr. Weisman works from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. He travels from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, to 2 Broadway, Manhattan daily. He has a "subscription trip" with a 7 a.m. pick up and a 5:20 p.m. return to Sheepshead Bay.
Mr. and Ms. Giordano live in the New Dorp section of Staten Island and attend a senior center six blocks from their home daily from 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Mr. and Ms. Giordano have a 7:30 a.m. "subscription trip" to the senior center. Afterwards, Ms. Giordano travels to various locations and Mr. Giordano returns home. Ms. Giordano reserves her return trips daily because she travels to different locations. Mr. Giordano has a return "subscription trip" to his home because he returns the same time everyday.
Wait at your pick-up location for the full 30-minute waiting period. For example, if your pick-up time is 10:15 a.m., wait at your pick-up location until 10:45 a.m. Frequently, a customer leaves the pick-up location early to call the Command Center. While making the call, their vehicle arrives and leaves, as the customer is not there. Then the customer must wait until the CIA finds another vehicle. This can take quite a while.
If you are able to take some trips on NYC Transit buses, express buses, subways, and former NYC franchise buses now operated by MTA Bus, display your AAR ID to the bus operator and station agent and you pay reduced fare. PCAs ride free when accompanying AAR customers whose AAR cards indicate that they travel with a PCA.
If you move to a different location, change apartments, telephone
numbers, cell phone numbers, emergency contacts, begin using a
scooter, wheelchair, walker, or service animal, report this information
to us by calling Paratransit Customer Information at 877-337-2017.
Press #1 when you hear the recorded message. A staff person will
record the information and update your records.
At the request of the Paratransit Advisory Committee (PAC), in 2003 NYC Transit and the NYC Department of Transportation began working together to identify pick-up/drop-off sites near busy locations where customers and vehicles often missed each other. A list of these sites was developed and is distributed to customers on request. You can request a copy by calling 877-337-2017 or at the MTA website www.mta.info; click on NYC Transit; click on Access-A-Ride and click on Designated AAR Pick-up Locations. Designated AAR Pick-up Locations are listed separately for each borough. Click on the borough you are interested in and print the list.
When reserving trips to these locations, the reservationist will inform customers where the site is located. For example, request the Montefiore Hospital rather than saying, "I want to go to 111 E. 210 Street."
Customers may bring one guest with them when traveling on AAR. Customers approved to travel with a PCA may bring the PCA and one guest; all must travel to and from the same destination. Guests and customers pay the same fare and PCAs travel free of charge. Children can be guests and are charged a fare, as with other public transit,
except an infant held in the parent's lap. The parent is responsible for securing the child in a seat, and should provide a carrier or car seat. Please remember to inform the reservationist that you are bringing a guest or PCA when reserving a trip so that seats are reserved.
Subscription trips are automatically cancelled on the following holidays:
New Year's Eve Day
New Year's Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Day after Thanksgiving
Christmas Eve Day
Committee (PAC) Update
The PAC met in January, March and May 2005. January's meeting was devoted to a review of the Federal Transportation Administration's report on Access-A-Ride paratransit service; the March meeting focused on scheduling concerns and the May meeting considered a revision to the no-show late cancellation policy and a seatbelt policy. This being Mr. Ende's last PAC meeting, all present thanked him for his willingness to work with the PAC to improve service. Stephanie L. White, acting chair, summed up the committee's sentiments when telling Mr. Ende, "You will be missed by everyone on this committee."
Customers wishing to communicate with the PAC can write to Stephanie L. White, Acting Chair, c/o Denise Ann McQuade, 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 or e-mail Denise.McQuade@nyct.com.
The 15-member PAC is composed of customers and representatives from major disability organizations from the five boroughs of New York City, including Disabled in Action, The Lighthouse and the Disability Network of New York City. The PAC meets the third Tuesday of every other month from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at our offices. Between meetings, members communicate with each other via a listserv on the Internet.
While there are no vacancies on the PAC, they occur periodically.
At such times, the selection committee reviews applicants' resumes
on file to fill the vacancy. Customers interested in serving on the
PAC should be familiar with ADA transportation regulations, have good analytical skills and be able to review or formulate policies and procedures and offer suggestions for improving service. They should also be able to work cooperatively in a group.
If you have the above qualifications, send a cover letter and current resume to Denise Ann McQuade, liaison to the PAC, at the above mailing address or e-mail address. Your letter should indicate why you wish to serve on the PAC and what skills or knowledge you would bring to the committee.
212, 718, 347, 516, 631, 646, 914, 845 by dialing 877-337-2017
From other area codes dial
TTY Relay 800-662-1220
TTY Reservations 718-393-4257
TTY Transit Control 718-393-4258
To request On The Move on audiotape, call 877-337-2017 and ask to speak with Michael Levy.
To download a copy of On The Move go to the MTA Website www.mta.info
To request Braille subway maps, call 877-337-2017 and ask to speak with Denise Ann Mc Quade.
For any of the publications below call NYC Transit
Customer Information 718-330-3322 or write
NYC Transit Customer Services
2 Broadway, Room D11.03
New York, NY 10004
Paratransit User's Guide
Access-A-Ride Quick-and-Easy Phone Tips & Telephone Directory for Customers with Disabilities
On The Move Winter/Spring 2005 (online) www.mta.info/nyct/paratran/onthemove.htm
Please feel free to write the Editors
On The Move, Access-A-Ride, MTA NYC Transit, Paratransit Division, 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
This is a publication of MTA New York City Transit
Lawrence G. Reuter - President
Millard L. Seay - Senior Vice President, Dept. of Buses
Thomas Charles - Vice President, Paratransit Division
Carol Zwick and Denise Ann McQuade - Editors
Chim Yi Chin - Art Director
MTA New York City Transit
Department of Buses
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201