'On the Move' Newsletter: Spring/Summer 2018

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Contents

Increased Transparency for Access-A-Ride Is Here!

New York City Transit launched a new Online Access-A-Ride (AAR) Dashboard on January 23, 2018. The AAR dashboard presents indicators developed in response to specific concerns we’ve heard from customers, advocates and the public, including indicators for no shows, on-time performance, and ride time. It also tracks customer complaints and the performance of our call center. We have collaborated with our advisory groups as well as others including the Office of the MTA Inspector General to ensure that we are providing useful and accurate information that reflects the customer’s experience.

This is an evolving process and we will continue to refine and improve the dashboard based on the feedback we receive from our customers, advocacy groups, and the public.

Visit the AAR Dashboard at http://aardashboard.mta.info

Access-A-Ride Customer Bill of Rights

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is dedicated to delivering safe, reliable and efficient public transportation, which includes New York City Transit’s Access-A-Ride (AAR) Paratransit Service. AAR is a shared-ride, origin-to-destination paratransit service that is provided in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for persons whose disabilities prevent the use of NYC Transit public buses or subways.
NYC Transit’s AAR Customer Bill of Rights sets forth clear standards and expectations for AAR customers.

In Eligibility Determinations, AAR Customers Have the Right to:
  • Apply for service in a preferred language
  • Participate in an eligibility process that is fair and objective
  • Expect confidentiality regarding documentation and conversations
  • Submit relevant documentation from their own doctors
  • Request copies of their assessment records Appeal eligibility decisions
In Scheduling, AAR Customers Have the Right to:
  • Obtain information regarding AAR procedures and policies in a preferred language and/or format
  • Have calls answered courteously and promptly communicate with AAR in a preferred language
  • Request a later pick-up from a medical appointment or workplace where AAR dropped them off earlier the same day
  • Speak to a supervisor
  • Expect confidentiality
  • Reserve travel with one guest, and additional guests if capacity permit
In Boarding and Travelling on AAR Vehicles, Customers are Entitled to:
  • Delivery of safe, prompt and reliable service
  • Efficient rides with trips that do not exceed AAR’s Maximum Ride Times
  • Be allowed to wait inside until the vehicle arrives
  • Pick-ups within 30 minutes after the agreed reservation time
  • Authorization to use a taxi or for-hire vehicle if a pick-up is unreasonably delayed beyond the 30 minute window
  • Receive timely notice of unexpected schedule delays, when possible
  • Easy and safe access for boarding and exiting vehicles
  • Travel with service animals
  • Utilize the lift, as requested, curbside and not in the middle of the street
  • Decide whether to face forward or backward when boarding/riding vehicles in a wheelchair or scooter
  • Travel with an authorized Personal Care Attendant
AAR Customers Have the Right to Drivers Who:
  • Are professional, courteous, and respectful
  • Receive training and supervision to meet the travel requirements of customers
  • Call out the name of the customer upon arrival at the pick-up location
  • Wait five (5) minutes after a scheduled pick-up time, unless contact is made with the customer, in which case the driver will wait an additional five (5) minutes
  • Provide assistance door-to-door, curb-to-curb and into and out of vehicles as needed
  • Are fully trained on every component of the vehicle, including the lift, air conditioner and heating
  • Assist customers with fastening their seatbelts, if requested Assist with securing wheelchairs, oxygen bottles and other devices
  • Carry up to two bags/parcels totaling 40 lbs. or less on/off the vehicle
  • Are responsive to customer inquiries Respond to a medical emergency by pulling the vehicle out of traffic and notifying dispatch and/or calling 911
AAR Customers Have the Right to Vehicles that Are:
  • Properly equipped and have been inspected for safety
  • Checked every day to ensure maximum working order of all functions in the vehicle
  • Clean and odorless, with clean seats and straps and a smoke-free environment
  • Equipped with adequately functioning heating or air conditioning according to the season
AAR Customers Have the Right to File a Complaint and Can Expect:
  • To be heard and/or acknowledged by phone, letter or email and receive a response to their complaint (in their preferred format) within 21 business days
  • To be free from retaliation That AAR management will investigate and act on all complaints
  • That AAR management will identify and correct systemic issues that negatively impact service standards
  • That AAR management will proactively seek and evaluate opportunities to improve customer service

The AAR Customer Bill of Rights is available online at http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/AARcustomerbillrights.htm where you can also access it in an audio format. Braille is available upon request. This document is also available in multiple languages.

If you have requests, questions, comments or concerns pertaining to the AAR Customer Bill of Rights or any AAR policies, please contact us by using one of the following methods:

Call: 877-337-2017
Write: MTA New York City Transit, Paratransit Division, Customer Relations, 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Email: www.mta.info and click on “Contact Us.”

Transitions and Happy Retirement

Steve LoPiano’s career with the MTA began 40 years ago. He has held numerous operating and support positions including NYCT Department of Buses General Manager (GM) for Brooklyn Bus Operations and Chief Officer for Operation Support.

In 2010, Mr. LoPiano began his first of two tours of duty as Vice President of Paratransit. During the initial 1 ½ years, he helped develop new opportunities to deliver Access-A-Ride service to over 145,000 customers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. During his second tour, he championed the use of technology to provide AAR customers with improved service delivery and greater flexibility in booking and managing trips. In 2018, these initiatives continued their momentum under the leadership of Mr. Michael Cosgrove, who was appointed Vice President on May 1st. More about Vice President Cosgrove in the next issue of On The Move. We wish both gentlemen good luck in their new rolls.

Initiatives

Before the January Paratransit Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting, members gathered to try out the features of three accessible taxis provided by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). The demonstration, held in the garage at Paratransit, included a brief presentation by Alex Elegudin (TLC Accessibility Program Manager), who reviewed capacity dimensions and the ongoing efforts by TLC to assist in the training of drivers who provide Yellow and Green taxis through AAR’s newly implemented E-hail service.

The E-hail same-day Pilot Program garnered praise from the PAC members as well as constructive suggestions on how to enhance the initiative introduced to AAR customers in the November 2017. This Pilot program uses web-based applications (apps), allowing customers to book a same-day trip with a Yellow and Green taxi that meets their mobility needs. Over 500 AAR customers with smart phone, and cell phones are enrolled in the E-hail Pilot Program.

Follow-up reports regarding the progress of additional app development were discussed at the January PAC meeting including the My Access-A-Ride APP. This app is being created and tested with the help of AAR customers, advocates and community leaders this spring with hopes of full implementation in the third quarter of the year.

“We are on the cusp of something very new and more customer centric,” stated former Paratransit Vice President Steve LoPiano, who announced his recent retirement at the start of the January PAC meeting. He continued, “I only wish I could have seen it through, but am sure it is in good, capable hands!”

While technology continues to enhance the customer use and delivery of AAR service, those who feel more comfortable booking and checking their trips with a live representative will always have that ability! However, we strongly encourage all of our customers to please travel with a cell phone, and to be sure to update any and all phone numbers and E-mail addresses with the Eligibility Unit at AAR (prompt #1). Even if you provided your new contact phone numbers to a reservationist, it is not updated in your records until you speak with Eligibility.

Access-A-Ride MetroCard
Making a Reservation

The AAR MetroCard issued by NYC Transit serves as both your Paratransit customer identification card to use when you ride AAR and as a MetroCard if you opt to use public transit. NYC Transit understands that some Paratransit customers are able to use public transit under certain circumstances but at other times need AAR service. Therefore, your eligibility status will not be affected by using mass transit.

The AAR MetroCard gives AAR customers the opportunity and flexibility to take a total of four (4) free trips a day using the subways, local buses, Select Bus Service (SBS), and Staten Island Railway (SIR). If you have PCA Certification indicated on your AAR MetroCard, your PCA rides free of charge via Paratransit or public transit. On public transit, just swipe or dip your card twice – once for you, and again for your PCA. AAR customers cannot use their AAR MetroCard to ride express buses free of charge. Reduced fare on express buses is only available from 10:01 a.m. to 2:59 p.m., from 7:01 p.m. to 5:59 a.m. weekdays and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Get more information about your AAR MetroCard,or call Eligibility 877-337-2017, prompt #1.

Did You Know You Can Reserve and Monitor Your AAR Trips Online?

From your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, with a couple of simple clicks, you can make reservations 1 to 2 days in advance, 7 days a week, including holidays by signing up for Manage My Trips (MMT).

And There’s More...

THE NEW IMMEDIATE BOOKING SYSTEM, allows your reservation to be scheduled in less than sixty seconds!
You can also monitor your dedicated AAR vehicle’s (blue and white) REAL-TIME location, and arrival time one hour prior to your pick-up time by clicking the MAP button.

Tired of wondering where your dedicated AAR vehicle is?? Worry no more!! MMT allows you to track your vehicle until it get to you!

Steps to Access MMT

To access MMT follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.mta.info Select the Accessibility link at the top of the screen
  2. First time users will need to register prior to using MMT. Your feedback is important to us!!
  3. Select the Access-A-Ride link
  4. Select the AAR Manage My Trips link
Travel Training

Put your free AAR MetroCard to good use by signing up for free Travel Training! AAR, through Abilities, Inc., offers free training on how to use buses and subways. With some training, many AAR customers with mobility or cognitive disabilities may find a new way to go to work, school, day programs and many other places using buses or subways! A training candidate must be 18 years of age, should be motivated and medically stable, and should use the bus/subway often enough to maintain newly acquired travel skills.

Travel Training

Put your free AAR MetroCard to good use by signing up for free Travel Training! AAR, through Abilities, Inc., offers free training on how to use buses and subways. With some training, many AAR customers with mobility or cognitive disabilities may find a new way to go to work, school, day programs and many other places using buses or subways! A training candidate must be 18 years of age, should be motivated and medically stable, and should use the bus/subway often enough to maintain newly acquired travel skills.

Is Your Organization Interested in Learning More about AAR?

Did you know that in 2016 and 2017, AAR representatives performed over 250 community outreaches across the five boroughs of NYC?! Outreach events include presentations, participation in resource fairs and NYCT Bus demos. If your organization has 15 or more people who want to learn more about AAR Paratransit Service, please call AAR and press prompt #8. See you soon!

Call 516-465-1502 to register for Travel Training.

The Convenience of Subscription Service

AAR customers who travel on the same day, at the same time and to the same place each week may want to consider signing up for AAR Subscription Service. This will eliminate calling to reserve these trips 1-2 days in advance. These trips are automatically scheduled each week unless they are canceled or put on hold for five days or more. This is a great convenience for trips to work, school, day programs or medical appointments such as dialysis or therapy.

If you would like more information and/or to register, please call AAR and press prompt #6.

Subscription trips are automatically cancelled on: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Good Friday. If you would still like to travel on those days, you must reserve your trip 1 – 2 days in advance.

MOPD Visits Paratransit Headquarters

Paratransit welcomed Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and Edward Friedman, MOPD TLC Coordinator on March 16, 2018 to their headquarters in Long Island City.

Commissioner Calise and Mr. Friedman met with Paratransit Vice President Michael Cosgrove for an update regarding the initiatives put in place last year and progress of strategies being implemented this year and beyond. Paratransit Officers also had an opportunity to meet with the Commissioner to discuss each unit’s role in the delivering of AAR service. The visit concluded with a tour of Paratransit’s Command Center by Mr. Thomas Chin with demonstrations of AAR’s Automatic Vehicle Location Monitoring (AVLM) system and Manage My Trip.

Access-A-Ride Telephone Directory

Call 877-337-2017 toll free from area codes 212, 929, 646, 718, 347, 516, 631, 914, 845, 917, 332.

From all other area codes, dial 718-393-4999. Customers who are deaf / hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or the free 711 service relay.

For assistance in English, press “1.” If “1” is not pressed, callers will hear choices in each of the respective languages: for assistance in: Spanish, press “2.” For assistance in Russian, Chinese, French Creole or Korean, please press “3.” For all other languages, please press “4.” Conversations with AAR personnel are recorded and may be monitored.

These prompts may be selected after an important announcement is heard:

#1 – Eligibility Unit: Appeals / Certification / Application / AAR MetroCard / Update Your Records
#2 – Trip Planning: Reservations
#3 – Trip Planning: Change your reservation
#4 – Trip Planning: Cancel your reservation
#5 – Travel Services: Help with same day service 24/7
#6 – Subscription Service
#7 – Automated System
#8 – Commendations / Questions / Complaints / Outreach Requests / Publication Requests

To repeat, please press “0.” Hold for assistance if you do not have a touch-tone phone.

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