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Empty Access-A-Ride vehicles


w8Hou

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FOX5 investigation reports:

 

New York City's Access-A-Ride: Empty vans with no passengers, crisscrossing boroughs. Lots and lots of down time. Sleeping drivers with engines running.

 

And you pay for it all.

 

The federally mandated program is a scheduling nightmare. The number of people using it is skyrocketing. with thousands more a year becoming eligible because their disability prevents them from taking the subway or bus.

 

More than 20,000 people use the system each week -- that's 40,000 trips back and forth. The rules say each passenger has to be picked up within 30 minutes of their scheduled time -- all this in the middle of New York City traffic.

 

NYC Transit, part of the MTA, is in charge of scheduling the pickups, but several private companies are contracted to provide the transportation and drivers, who can have lots of down time depending on the schedules they get.

 

One driver told Fox 5: "You get breaks, you get a lot of breaks… breaks will be like sometimes they're 20 minutes, sometimes they're an hour two hours… sometimes you get a three- or four-hour lunches. It all depends on the gap in your route."

 

You might remember a guy from a story Fox 5 did in November. We caught him snoozing for an hour with the engine running outside a dialysis center, as people waited for their scheduled Access-A-Ride trip.

 

"I'm waiting one hour 45 minutes every day, a problem," one patient's wife grumbled.

 

When we woke up the driver, he said he was waiting on a passenger. Eventually he left with no passenger -- empty for an hour and a half.

 

Latest figures have the Access-A-Ride program costing the public more than $451 million a year.

 

Each trip is $66. That's way more expensive then most limo services. People who qualify only pay $2.25 per trip. That's the normal subway and bus fare for door-to-door service by appointment.

 

The vans are designed to hold up to 2 wheelchairs and 5 people, but usually they only have one person at a time and put in lots of miles with no one in side.

 

"Yeah, we don't go full," a driver told Fox 5. "I came from Staten Island empty to pick up one person and go back to Staten Island."

 

The companies supplying the rides rake in $346 million a year for the hours the vehicles are on the road. That includes the time we caught drivers sleeping, getting lost, and parked with their engines running.

 

Jim Weisman is an attorney for the United Spinal Association. He has been fighting for the rights of the disabled for more than 30 years.

 

"I think Access-A-Ride is run by people who are committed and dedicated to providing transportation to people with disabilities, but have an almost impossible job," Weisman says. "It's a mess and it will stay a mess and it will get worse as people who used to die younger live longer and need transportation services."

 

Weisman says it would help if the city made all subways and cabs accessible along with encouraging the disabled to use mass transit.

 

Transit officials say almost all of the down time Fox 5 saw was due to scheduled meal breaks, passengers not showing up, and vans strategically waiting in position to pick up passengers up on time.

 

Officials say they are trying to make things more efficient. In fact, they are spending millions of dollars on a new computerized system to help with the scheduling.

 

 

Source: http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/investigative/100126-empty-access-a-ride-vehicles

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Also, a smartchip would need to be installed on each vehicle so drivers are paid accordingly to how many hours the ARA Vehicle is in operation (with the chip halting calculation when the vehicle's engine is turned off).

So why should the drivers lose out (i.e. not get paid) because their employers haven't provided them with duties to undertake?

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Really depends, seeing the report of some drivers being awfully lazy is disturbing and it means money-wasting.

 

While I may be wrong on my previous post, now I think this chip should be modified to use GPS technology, so if any ARA Vehicle get out of their supposed route (including alternate streets within a 1 mile range) without telling the dispatch to modify route, the driver would not get paid. Complicated solution and cost-cutting measures in one chip.

 

What if there's a crash on one street and the driver has to detour two streets down? He won't get paid?

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What are you talking about ?????

Driver should be getting paid from the time he comes in till the time he leaves !

Dispatchers are slow to give out job, so how is that drivers fault ?

Drivers sit and do nothing because they aint got nowhere to go ! So dispatchers should get a kick on the ass for not managing their drivers more efficiently. !

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What are you talking about ?????

Driver should be getting paid from the time he comes in till the time he leaves !

Dispatchers are slow to give out job, so how is that drivers fault ?

Drivers sit and do nothing because they aint got nowhere to go ! So dispatchers should get a kick on the ass for not managing their drivers more efficiently. !

 

The whole access a ride system is a joke and better late than never that with the uproar of the planned (MTA) doomesday cuts, the local stations like Fox 5 are exposing this waste of taxpayer which has contributed to the agency's fiscal crisis.

 

I put the blame both at City Hall and Albany for not 'firing' these private bus companies(which they would be in the 'real business world) and put the access a ride contract over with new ones that more better managed.:mad::tup:

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What are you talking about ?????

Driver should be getting paid from the time he comes in till the time he leaves !

Dispatchers are slow to give out job, so how is that drivers fault ?

Drivers sit and do nothing because they aint got nowhere to go ! So dispatchers should get a kick on the ass for not managing their drivers more efficiently. !

 

Dont even bother to read his speculation. He has lack of knowledge behind the bus operations.

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The whole access a ride system is a joke and better late than never that with the uproar of the planned (MTA) doomesday cuts, the local stations like Fox 5 are exposing this waste of taxpayer which has contributed to the agency's fiscal crisis.

 

I put the blame both at City Hall and Albany for not 'firing' these private bus companies(which they would be in the 'real business world) and put the access a ride contract over with new ones that more better managed.:mad::tup:

AGREED
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Dont even bother to read his speculation. He has lack of knowledge behind the bus operations.
I don't think you have any idea what an access a ride driver goes thru I use to do that job they get treated like second rate step children so please getting sent all over New York City is not fun at all a half an hour lunch break for an 8 or 10 hour work day you have no idea do some research most people who post to this board wouldn't last a day doing that job dealing with the worst new york drivers thats including access a ride drivers and in some cases the people you pick up
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I don't think you have any idea what an access a ride driver goes thru I use to do that job they get treated like second rate step children so please getting sent all over New York City is not fun at all a half an hour lunch break for an 8 or 10 hour work day you have no idea do some research most people who post to this board wouldn't last a day doing that job dealing with the worst new york drivers thats including access a ride drivers and in some cases the people you pick up

 

I know people who worked for Access A Ride and MTA's Long Island Bus Paratransit; it is not a relaxing job like FOX5 who is reporting that way especially dealing with traffic and the passengers needs or even the management.

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IMO Access A Ride is not needed in NYC with the intergration of low floor buses such as the Hybrid you cannot use the excuse that you cant walk up the stairs on the Bus now if the Department of Subways would do their part by maintaining and installing elevators and or esculators we wouldn't have to worry about waste like this

 

there has to be a solution to this problem I want to know was this system in a state of disarray when the NYC DOT had it if it wasn't this speaks volumes about the (MTA)

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I know people who worked for Access A Ride and MTA's Long Island Bus Paratransit; it is not a relaxing job like FOX5 who is reporting that way especially dealing with traffic and the passengers needs or even the management.
I hope that I didn't come off as rude was just trying to get my point across so forgive me don't want to step on anyone's toes
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Yup, we got the Orion VIIs OG/NG in hybrid/CNG setups, The Designlines, the New Flyer C40LFs in Brooklyn, and the NovaBus LFS/LFSAs that we're getting soon. Disabled? Here's your bus! No need for the Access-a-Ride! But then again, there are the wheelchair-confined... There's space for them in the buses!

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Whether anyone thinks it's needed or not in the city, paratransit services are here to stay. It's federally mandated.

 

 

True about a federal law but i disagree with it on forcing bigger cities like NYC to have it. IMO a better solution is just have a large gas efficent cars and mini van for ada who are unable to use regular city buses and subways.

Not to mention i think 99% of the NYCT/(MTA) bus fleet now has wheelchair access as well so that should taken into account for bigger agencies like (MTA) (NJT) CTA and Bart. The current system is perfect breathing ground for corruption with these private bus companies that allowed to opearte access a ride. and thus the current system of millions wasted that could be used to limit the number of bus cuts on regular bus lines that has lower passenger usage or expensive to run but needed.

 

 

This access a ride/ada requirement(yes the ada requirement for mass transit is needed like civil rights laws but a change need to be revised and change imo)special access is more needs to be enforced for smaller transit agencies that may not be able to buy buses that have ada lifts. A perfect example is Dutchess County NY.

 

Just my takes.

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IMO Access A Ride is not needed in NYC with the intergration of low floor buses such as the Hybrid you cannot use the excuse that you cant walk up the stairs on the Bus now if the Department of Subways would do their part by maintaining and installing elevators and or esculators we wouldn't have to worry about waste like this

 

there has to be a solution to this problem I want to know was this system in a state of disarray when the NYC DOT had it if it wasn't this speaks volumes about the (MTA)

 

Yup, we got the Orion VIIs OG/NG in hybrid/CNG setups, The Designlines, the New Flyer C40LFs in Brooklyn, and the NovaBus LFS/LFSAs that we're getting soon. Disabled? Here's your bus! No need for the Access-a-Ride! But then again, there are the wheelchair-confined... There's space for them in the buses!

 

So are you two telling me that if an old person who can barely walk should need to go somewhere, they should still be forced to take the bus? And what if it snows? Should they be forced to walk in possibly icy snow all the way to a bus stop?

 

Not trying to be rude or anything, but yeah.

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Not to mention i think 99% of the NYCT/(MTA) bus fleet now has wheelchair access as well so that should taken into account for bigger agencies like (MTA) (NJT) CTA and Bart.

 

Minus a few % for the buses with broken wheelchair lifts.

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