According to a new lawsuit filed against New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is not abiding by the American with Disabilities Act in making New York City’s subway system accessible to disabled riders. The class action suit filed in federal court says that subway stations are not wheelchair accessible.
The lawsuit argues that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has not spent a federal mandated portion of its station rehabilitation budget on upgrading subway ramps and elevators. The federal authorization sets aside 20 percent of the station rehabilitation budget to be spent on improvements related to access. Federal law calls for buses and “key” rail stations to be wheelchair accessible. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2010 – 2014 capital plan, around 81 key subway stations are currently wheelchair accessible or are undergoing improvements to be accessible. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budget has set aside $500 million over the five year time period to make subway stations wheelchair accessible.
The class action suit has been filed by the United Spinal Association and Disability Rights Advocates. According to the vice president of the United Spinal Association, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has recently started a $20 million improvement to the Dyckman Street station on the Number 1 line, but the improvement is in violation of the American with Disabilities Act because funds have not been assigned to make it handicapped accessible. The vice president of the Association says that budget constraints have closed bus routes and makes it even more crucial that subway stations are accessible. In addition, the eligibility requirements for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s door-to-door van service have been made more strict.
Source: Daily News, “City’s Subways Aren’t Friendly to Disabled Riders, According to Lawsuit,” Pete Donohue, 10/13/10