Last month New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) highlighted their recent access improvements and reaffirmed their commitment to make public transportation more accessible to everyone. At a Coney Island celebration on the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo proclaimed, “My mission at the MTA is showing that accessibility and equity are one and the same.”
Here’s a roundup of the MTA’s completed accessibility projects in 2021, as well as what’s in store for 2022.
Throughout 2021 the MTA continued to add new buses to their fleet, and by the end of 2022 they expect to put more than 800 new buses into service. These new buses will have more accessible seating choices, with flip up seats in a variety of configurations. They will also have wider doors and ramps that are easier to access.
The MTA also unveiled the new R211 subway cars in July. These cars feature 58-inch wide doorways (8 inches bigger than the old cars) and include more spacious wheelchair-accessible seats at the ends of the cars.
Business is booming with this paratransit option, which now hasa ridership of 80% pre-pandemic levels. MTA replaced 40% of its fleet with vehicles that have improved lighting, climate control and maneuverability. And they have implemented rigorous cleaning measures to insure the health and safety of all passengers.
MTA also completed planned accessibility improvements at the 57th Street Station in Manhattan, the Gun Hill Road Station in the Bronx and to the Manhattan side of the Court Square 53rd Street Station in Queens. More access improvements are on the calendar for other MTA subway stations in the remainder of 2021.
All in all, it sounds like access is really improving in New York City. And that’s a very good thing!