Yellow Cab Access-A-Ride Pilot Project
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced a pilot program to use yellow taxi cabs to pickup and drop-off MTA Access- A-Ride customers, with the rides paid for with pre-paid debit cards. The pilot program is expected to reduce the MTA’s per trip cost for Access-A-Ride trips by nearly 70 percent and improve service for Access-A-Ride users. Access-A-Ride is the MTA’s program to provide transportation for people with disabilities, who are unable to use public bus or subway service, with 24- hour, door-to-door service. The program currently uses fully accessible vans for most users, with an average cost to the MTA of $49 per trip. Approximately 75 percent of Access-A-Ride customers do not require the use of a lift-equipped vehicle and the pilot program will be tested with 400 of those customers – with an average cost to the MTA of $15 per trip, rather than the current $49 cost. Access-A-Ride users pay $2.25 per trip under the existing program and will continue to do so under the pilot program. Mayor Bloomberg proposed using taxi cabs to support the Access-A-Ride program in his 2009 campaign and in the Age-Friendly NYC plan, which was developed in coordination with the New York City Council, the Department for the Aging and the New York Academy for Medicine.
The Access-A-Ride customers participating in the pilot program are customers that require pickup and drop-off locations in Manhattan below 96th Street. The volunteers are all ambulatory customers on Access-A-Ride’s subscription service – they travel to and from the same place at the same time on a regular basis.
JPMorgan Chase worked with the MTA’s New York City Transit division to develop the electronic debit card for the Access-A-Ride pilot. Chase has been processing those cards and mailing them to customers participating in the pilot. Each card will have a different value pre-loaded, depending on the customer’s regular destination and frequency of use, with enough money pre-loaded to cover two weeks of subscription service. After two weeks, customers will send a check to New York City Transit covering $2.25 for each trip taken and more value can be automatically added to customer cards. The pilot program will conclude after 90 days and, depending on results, the program may be extended for an additional 90 days or be expanded to include more customers. The City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission will utilize the GPS technology installed in each taxi cab provide tripsheet data from each ride to the MTA, which will enable the MTA to determine the pickup and dropoff locations of all trips as they analyze the results of the pilot program.