Network Denounces Access-A-Ride Fare Increase

Network Members Join Borough President, Comptroller

to Call for Real, Workable Solutions

“Discouraging use and decreasing services while increasing costs for disabled passengers is not only bad business, it’s discriminatory.”

Read our other statements against the increase in the New York Daily News, Epoch Times and Lower Hudson Journal News

On Monday, December 15, the Disabilities Network stood with Borough President Scott Stringer, City Comptroller William Thompson and other advocates on the steps of City Hall to oppose the Access-A-Ride fare increase as suggested by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The MTA has proposed more than doubling the Access-A-Ride fare for disabled passengers -- a whopping 150% increase -- and budget documents show the agency expects to realize only about $9 million from the fare hike, and almost $27 million from reduced use of the service by disabled riders unable to afford the increase. That's right, the MTA is conspiring to discourage disabled passengers from using the service as a means to save money.

Borough President Stringer said, “We all know the MTA’s budget problems are real, but balancing its books on the backs of disabled riders is simply not an option.  We all will have to make sacrifices, but riders with disabilities should not have to sacrifice their role in the larger community or be confined to their homes because we cannot find a broad solution to our transit crisis.”

“The proposal illustrates exactly the kind of backwards thinking the MTA into this mess to begin with,” said the Director of Advocacy for the Disabilities Network of NYC Lawrence Carter-Long.

“Discouraging use and decreasing services while increasing costs for disabled passengers is not only bad business, it’s discriminatory.”

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. speaks at a podium.  Pictured (l to r) are: Edith M. Prentiss; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; Thompson; Lawrence Carter-Long; and Michael Godino.

Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. calls on City Hall and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to stop the Access-A-Ride fare hike at a news conference on December 16, 2008. Pictured (l to r) are: Network Member Edith M. Prentiss; Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer; Thompson; Lawrence Carter-Long; and Network Member Michael Godino.

Photo credit: Marla Maritzer

 

The fight for fair fares continued at the office of NYC Comptroller William Thompson on Tuesday, December 16. The Comptroller called on Mayor Bloomberg to use a nearly forgotten Memorandum of Understanding created by Mayor Dinkin's in 1993 to block the ill-conceived proposal. 

“Raising these fares would place an incredible burden on people who already are, as a group, among the most economically vulnerable of New Yorkers,” Thompson said. “Under the MOU, the Mayor has the legal power to stop this increase from moving forward. I call on both the MTA to the City to do the right thing for Access-A-Ride users.”

Thompson -- who was joined by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the Network, Network Members Edith Prentiss of 504 Democratic Club and Disabled In Action and Michael Godino of Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled Network -- made his announcement one day before the MTA voted on its 2009 budget, including the Access-A-Ride increase.

"We applaud Comptroller Thompson's call to stop the unfair fare increase for passengers with disabilities," said Carter-Long at the event. "By using existing memorandum of understanding to put an end to the Access-A-Ride fare debate, Mayor Bloomberg can -- with the swipe of a pen -- put the city back on track toward finding real, workable budget solutions."

Link to press release for Comptroller William Thompson's news conference: http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/press/2008_releases/pr08-12-184.shtm

News coverage on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's 12/15 press event: http://en.epochtimes.com/n2/united-states/mta-proposal-disabled-new-york-bus-routes-8620.html

Sign Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's petition to stop the fare increase:
http://www.petitiononline.com/mbpo/petition.html

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