2008-03-21 / Letters

Access-A-Ride Uses Too Many Minutes

Dear Editor,

Access-A-Ride is a godsend; it works and the MTAreally wants it to. Provisions are in place when delays occur that affect the arrival to our destination. We can be kept up-todate on the location of our assigned vehicle, and then, after a half hour delay, an authorization is granted for a taxi or car service to complete our journey.

For Access-A-Ride to run so smoothly and effectively, the customer needs to have a cell phone. We are required to be outside five minutes before our scheduled pickup and give the driver a half hour window to reach us. Public phones are not always available or functioning when the half hour wait has passed.

Procedure for us is to call Access-ARide (877-337-2017), select option 1 or 2 and then option 5. We are greeted by an agent who inquires our ID number. We tell them of our dilemma, and they investigate while we are placed on hold. The agent then advises us of the situation and informs us of our choices - to continue to wait or authorizes us to take a taxi or call for car service.

We are using our cell phone airtime minutes during this process, which has taken up to thirteen minutes in my case. We, the customers, are on the street and public phones are not always available at the location we are at, or they may not be functioning. Our "street" contact with

Letters Access-A-Ride can occur several times during the month, and the airtime minutes add up.

Perhaps a waiver with the cell phone carriers can be obtained for Access-A-Ride customers on the use of these air-time minutes - similar to mobile to mobile use or when 911 is called. The time used on those calls is not deducted from your "peak" allowance. Most cell phone carriers charge 45 cents a minute when you go over your monthly allowance. Several calls a month from the street to Access-ARide can add up to a lot of air-time minutes. New York City can have the best Access-A-Ride in the country.

ANN CULLINANE

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