What is Access-a-Ride? (Spainsh, Chinese)
Access-a-Ride (AAR) is an accessible transportation program operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority for people who are unable to use the public buses and subways.

For the most up-to-date information, go to the MTA website here or at: http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/guide.htm 

Will it cost me anything to use Access-a-Ride?
Yes.  Rides are $2.75 each way. If you are a senior citizen, it is half that amount or $1.35. 

Who is eligible? 
People with disabilities and senior citizens who are unable to use public buses or subway service for some or all of their trips are eligible.

What if I am a customer of Access-a-Ride but use NYC Transit local or express buses and subways?
Using buses or subways does not mean you cannot use Access-A-Ride.  In most cases, as an Access-a-Ride customer, you pay reduced fare on all subways and non-express buses.

How do I apply for Access-a-Ride?
Call 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (TTY) to schedule an appointment at an assessment center in your borough.  About five days after you call you will get an application form and a letter with the date, time and place of your appointment.  The letter will also give you instructions for scheduling round-trip transportation to the assessment center.

At the assessment center, you will have a face-to-face interview with a healthcare professional and, if appropriate, you will be asked to take a functional test.   With this test, the Transit Authority will decide if your disability limits your use of a bus or subway.  When applying let the person who is taking down your appointment information know if you will be traveling with a personal care attendant.

How long is the decision process?
A decision will be made within 21 days after your visit to the assessment center.

What are the types of Access-a-Ride eligibility?

  • Full – You can use Access-a-Ride throughout the five boroughs.  You must recertify every five years.
  • Conditional –This is based on your medical condition and your ability to travel under certain weather conditions and within a given radius.  You must recertify every five years.
  • Continual – This is for those who cannot use regular MTA transit under any circumstances, whose disability is unlikely to improve, and whose disability is likely to become more severe.  You do not have to recertify every five years on your card there will be an expiration date in which you must request a recertification form to extend your status..
  • Full temporary – Can use Access-a-Ride throughout the five boroughs but must recertify after two years.
  • Conditional temporary – Is based on your temporary medical condition, your ability to travel under certain weather conditions and within a given radius.  Because your condition has been determined to be temporary you must recertify after two years.
  • Ineligible – those who do not meet the disability criteria under Access-A-Ride rules.

Will it cost me anything if I have a personal attendant or guest?
Your ID card will indicate if you are approved to travel with a personal care attendant. There is no extra cost for a personal care attendant (a personal care attendant can be a relative, spouse, friend or a professional attendant).  Unlike a personal attendant, a guest must pay the full fare.  All of you must be traveling to the same destination and when making reservations for pick-up you must inform the reservationist that you are bring a guest and/or personal care attendant so that seats may be reserved.

What are my rights if I am denied Access-a-Ride?
You have a right to appeal the decision within 60 days after you get a denial notice. Instructions on how to appeal and the forms will come with the notification letter.  If you need help with your appeal, you may contact CIDNY and talk to a benefits counselor.

How do I know to recertify?
You will get a letter by mail when it is time to recertify.  If you haven’t gotten a letter six weeks before the expiration date on your ID card, call Eligibility at 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (TTY) to begin the re-certification process. The process for recertifying is the same as for your original application.

How do I make arrangements to be picked-up?
Call 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (TTY) one to two days before your trip.  Have the following information ready:

  • Your ID number on your card
  • The date(s) of your trip(s).
  • Your pick-up and destination addresses (include cross streets, for example, 555 Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets).
  • The telephone number of your destination, if you have it.
  • Your cell phone number, if you have one.
  • The time you need to arrive.
  • Whether you will be traveling with a guest, personal care attendant, or both.
  • Any special instructions, such as having the vehicle operator announce her/his presence if you are visually impaired.
  • The same information is required for the return trip.

How do I cancel a trip?
Trips must be canceled no later than three hours before your scheduled trip.  Call 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (relay for customers who are Deaf).

Can I schedule and cancel routine pick-ups?
Routine pick-ups (know as subscription service) are offered if you travel from the same location to the same place at the same time of day for each trip, at least one day a week.  No subscription reservations will be held for longer than 90 days.  Since these trips are prescheduled, you need to call to cancel if you cannot make the trip.  If you are canceling one or two days before the travel date you must call Reservations.  If you are canceling on the same day you must do it three or more hours before your scheduled pick-up.  To cancel a trip, call Transit Control at 877-337-2017 or 718-393-4999 (TTY).

What happens if I don’t show up for my ride or cancel my pick-up too late?
NYC Transit will record each “no-show” or late cancellation.  If you miss too many trips, your services may be stopped for a period time.  When NYC Transit records you as having a “no-show” or late cancellation – you cannot disagree with them at that time.

Definitions of terms:

  • No-show is when the vehicle arrives to pick you up within 30-minutes pick-up span, waits five minutes and you do not board the vehicle.
  • Late cancellation is when you cancel a trip less than three hours before the scheduled trip.
  • Excessive missed trips if you reserve seven or more trips within any month and you have no-shows and/or late cancels are 40 percent  (for example, you don’t show up or cancel 4 out of 10 of your rides)or more of those scheduled trips.

If you have excessive missed trips you may be suspended for a period.  The following suspension periods apply to violations that occur within 12 months:

  • 1st suspension – 2-months
  • 2nd suspension – 4-months
  • 3rd suspension – 6 months
  • 4th suspension – 3-years

NOTE:  Subscription services will be cancelled for any customer who is suspended.

How will know if I am suspended?
If you have violated the policy you will receive a suspension notice listing each trip that was a no-show and/or late cancellation.  In this notice you will be told the dates the suspension begins and ends and when you can start to use Access-a-Ride again.

Can I appeal the suspension?
There are two ways you can appeal.

  • You must send in a written appeal within 14 days of the date on which the suspension notice was issued.  The following documents must be included:
    • a completed Notice of Intention to Appeal Suspension form; and
    • either a Statement of Appeal form or a letter documenting why you believe   that the violations should be excused or are inaccurate with any supporting   documentation.
  • An in-person appeal requires the following:
    • You must submit a completed Notice of Intention to Appeal Suspension form postmarked within 10 days of the date the suspension was issued; and
    • You must be available to attend the hearing on a date that you and Access-A-Ride agree on.  The appeal date cannot be later than 21 days from the date the notice of suspension was issued.

If you file an appeal according to the instructions and deadlines, the suspension will not take effect until the Paratransit Appeals Board has made a decision.  The decision will be in writing and if your suspension is upheld, the notice will provide the beginning and ending dates of the suspension period.  The Paratransit Appeals Board’s decision is final.

How do I file a complaint?
You may contact MTA NYC Transit by:

  • Calling 718-330-3322, Customer Assistance line, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or
  • Writing to MTA New York City Transit, Paratransit Division, Customer Relations, 130 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; or
  • E-mailing www.mta.info and click “Contact US.”

Getting Help
If you have further questions or need help with applying for Access-A-Ride, please call CIDNY at 212-674-2300 and ask to speak to a benefits counselor.
Also, see CIDNY's Resource Sheet.