The article below was written by Matthew Estep, Self-Advocacy Advisor, Individualized Supports
It’s hard to miss the increase in delays on the subway and on other forms of public transportation. In response to this, the MTA has begun to take action by appointing a new president of New York City Transit, Andy Byford. He has proposed “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit.” This plan calls for the revitalization of New York’s transit system by transforming the subway, reimagining the bus network, and upgrading accessibility features throughout the system.
It is paramount that the MTA’s leadership continues to learn about and prioritize “accessibility.” Leadership must acknowledge that the current system is failing people with disabilities and take a deep dive into the many ways that it can be reinvented to everyone’s benefit. The proposed plan addresses accessibility issues by adding a new elevator service to 50 subway stations and a new Access-A-Ride E-Hail pilot program that would enable same-day service. However, these changes are not guaranteed, nor do they go far enough to ensure that public transportation is accessible to all New Yorkers.
Self-advocates from across AHRC NYC have begun to work on lobbying for these changes through petitions, letter-writing campaigns, face-to-face meetings with their representatives, and attending public hearings. More work needs to be done and they need our support!
The MTA holds a monthly board meeting at their office at 2 Broadway on the third Wednesday of each month. Self-advocates including Paul Scherzinger, Douglas Dawkins, and Janice Bartley have joined with allies from groups such as SANYS, ADAPT, Rise & Resist, and Jobs to Move America to testify each month.
Paul Scherzinger speaks about the difficulties he faces each day while traveling in New York City
Janice has spoken at several meetings and is committed to keeping up with the work. Please contact Janice at Janice.Bartley@ahrcnyc.org if you or the self-advocates that you support would like to join her at a future meeting.
Janice Bartley speaks up about problems in New Yor City’s public transit system at an MTA Board and Committee meeting
AHRC NYC self-advocates also plan to have their voices heard at a series of town hall meetings that are taking place in each borough about the Fast Forward Plan. Self-advocates from Brooklyn attended last week’s meeting at Medgar Evers College.
A listing of upcoming MTA Board and Committee Meetings is available on the MTA website: http://web.mta.info/mta/news/calendar.htm
Self-Advocates are committed to seeking change in our public transit system and will continue to attend these meetings to speak up for what they want!