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Access-A-Ride users face bigger MTA fare hike than MetroCard commuters

The New York Daily News - 11/26/2018

Nov. 26--Commuters with disabilities may get socked with a fare increase that's twice what able-bodied MetroCard users would pay under an MTA fare hike proposal.

Access-A-Ride fares could rise 25 cents to $3, a 9.1% jump, accessibility advocates say. Most other commuters would see hikes of around 4%.

The fare hikes "would negatively and disproportionately harm people with disabilities who use New York City's Access-A-Ride system," according to a letter from 11 directors of advocacy organizations sent to Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.

"People with disabilities should pay only their fair share, and this fare hike will impose a disproportionate burden on them," said the letter. Among its senders was the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York.

"Simply put, the MTA is about to balance its budget on the backs of those who can least afford it," the letter said.

Adhiambo Mitchell, 42, a Harlem resident who uses prosthetics on his legs and a wheelchair, said he understands the need for a fare hike -- but believes the MTA is unfairly targeting his Access-A-Ride trips.

"That's not equal at all," he said of the 9.1% hike he may face. "I think they need to reassess it and do it equally."

Under the current fare schedule, Access-A-Ride users pay $2.75, the same as the base subway and bus fare. Access-A-Ride is offered to people who can't use subways or buses. Its customers reserve their trips ahead of time, and ride in lift- or ramp-equipped vans, or in sedans.

Riders can tell the MTA what they think about its fare hike proposals at public hearings that begin Tuesday.

MTA officials are weighing two ideas for subway and bus riders. One would keep the base fare steady at $2.75, but nix the bonus riders get for loading up their MetroCards. Seven-day unlimited passes will go up $1 to $33, while 30-day passes will go up $6 to $127.

The other plan would kick the base fare up to $3 and boost the bonus to 10%, and raise the price of seven-day passes to $33 and the price of 30-day passes to $126.25.

"The board is not limited to the proposals already put forward," said MTA spokesman Shams Tarek. He said the agency will consider riders' ideas about fares for subways, buses, Access-A-Ride and other services.


(c)2018 New York Daily News

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