Accessibility of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The physical accessibility of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)'s public transit network is incomplete. Although accessibility on all buses is provided in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), much of the MTA's rail system, including its rapid transit (New York City Subway and Staten Island Railway) and commuter rail services (Long Island Rail Road [LIRR] and Metro-North Railroad), were built before wheelchair access was a requirement under the ADA. Consequently, most stations were not designed to be accessible to people with disabilities.
A state law, the New York Human Rights Law, prevents discrimination on the basis of disability. Since 1990, elevators have been built in newly constructed stations to comply with the ADA, with most grade-level stations requiring little modification to meet ADA standards. In addition, the MTA identified 100 "key stations", high-traffic and/or geographically important stations, which must conform to the ADA when they are extensively renovated.[a] One of the key tenets of the Fast Forward Plan to rescue the subway system released in 2018 is to drastically increase the number of ADA-accessible subway stations, adding accessible facilities to 70 stations by 2024.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been gradually adding disabled access to its key stations since the 1980s, though large portions of the MTA's transit system are still inaccessible. According to the MTA:
- In improving services to individuals with disabilities, the MTA identified stations and facilities where compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would benefit the most people, analyzing such factors as high ridership, transfer points, and service to major areas of activity. These stations were given priority in our station-renovation program. We are continuing to expand accessibility features to more and more locations.
According to the MTA, fully accessible stations have:
- elevators or ramps
- handrails on ramps and stairs:254
- large-print and tactile-Braille signs:254
- audio and visual information systems, including Help Points or Public Address Customer Information Screens:254
- accessible station booth windows with sills located no more than 36 inches (91 cm) above the ground:F.3
- accessible MetroCard Vending Machines
- accessible service entry gates
- platform-edge warning strips
- platform gap modifications or bridge plates to reduce or eliminate the gap between trains and platforms where it is greater than 2 inches (5.1 cm) vertically or 4 inches (10 cm) horizontally:F.3
- telephones at an accessible height with volume control, and text telephones (TTYs):F.3
- accessible restrooms at stations with restrooms, if a 24-hour public toilet is in operation:F.3
- Note: not all station buildings have restrooms.
Major bus stops are also required to have bus stop announcements under the ADA. The MTA is required to maintain these components under the ADA law; for instance, buses with malfunctioning lifts will be taken out of service.:254
In 1973, the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was signed into law, and one provision of it, Section 504, was initially interpreted to require all public transit systems to become equally accessible to the disabled or risk losing Federal funding. The Federal regulation enacting this The MTA resisted this interpretation, arguing that making the required improvements would cost more than $1.5 billion. MTA Chairman Harold Fisher argued in favor of a separate transportation system for the disabled since it would be too expensive to make the regular system accessible. The MTA Board, in 1980, voted to ignore the rule in spite of threats from the federal government that the agency would forfeit Federal funding.
On September 27, 1979, the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court that sought to block subway modernization projects from proceeding unless elevators were installed in stations, as per a state law that required that access for handicapped riders be provided. This was the first lawsuit in New York challenging a state agency for not being in compliance with the Public Buildings Law and the first lawsuit to argue state laws required public transit systems to add wheelchair lifts on buses and elevators in train and subway stations. The lawsuit also charged that the MTA was in defiance of New York's Human Rights Law, which outlaws discrimination, for denying people with disabilities from using public transit facilities. The EPVA decided to go ahead with the lawsuit despite the existence of the Federal regulations because it feared a lawsuit by the American Public Transportation Association, which sought to overturn the rules as being financially burdensome, might be successful.
In 1981, the Reagan administration reinterpreted Section 504, requiring that transit agencies demonstrate that they were making their best efforts to provide adequate transportation for people in wheelchairs. As a result, the MTA agreed to purchase more than 2,000 buses with wheelchair lifts, which would make 50% of its bus fleet accessible. In 1983, less than a third of the system's 3,600 buses were equipped with these lifts.
In December 1982, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the EPVA, and on January 4, 1983, a New York State Supreme Court judge officially signed an order that barred 10 station renovation projects in the MTA's first Capital Program from proceeding until an agreement was reached regarding accessibility in the New York City transit system, which the MTA appealed. The judge based the ruling on a state law that required wheelchair access to projects that were renovated using state funds. The MTA had argued that it had already provide a transportation option for the disabled by ordering buses with wheelchair lifts, and that the state law in question, the public buildings law, did not apply to subway stations, and that the planned projects were repairs, not renovations.
Work at ten station renovation projects underway were placed on hold, and work at 78 others were shelved by the MTA, which feared that work would again be halted by the courts. Following the decision, the MTA asked the New York State Legislature to exempt the agency from the law requiring transportation be accessible to people with disabilities. MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch said that ''the costs of station accessibility are enormous and the benefits illusory,'' arguing that few people would use the elevators, and noting that it would cost $1 million to make each station accessible, and the high cost of maintenance and security requirements. The MTA had offered the EPVA to set up an on-request paratransit service, which the group rejected, while the EPVA offered to make 27 key stations accessible, including Fordham Road, Forest Hills—71st Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Times Square and 125th Street, which was rejected by the MTA.
On December 22, 1983, State Senate Minority Leader Manfred Ohrenstein proposed legislation that would make 27 key stations accessible and provide funding for a paratransit service, allowing renovations at the 88 stations to commence. Following the announcement, the MTA entertained installing elevators at a limited number of stations being renovated for the first time. Senator Ohrenstein estimated that it would cost $25 to 35 million to make the 27 stations accessible, and cost $55 million per year for the paratransit service. $30 million of the cost for paratransit service would be borne by Transit Authority revenues, $7 million would come from fares, and the remainder would come from third party payments like Medicare and Medicaid. The proposed legislation listed ten stations in Manhattan, four in the Bronx, seven in Brooklyn, and six in Queens. The bill also would have required half of buses to be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and created a 15-member Handicapped Transportation Board to oversee the paratransit system.
In March 1984, the MTA, the office of Governor Mario Cuomo, and advocates for the disabled began working on an agreement to permit the agency to begin work on it subway station modernization program. On June 21, 1984, Mayor Ed Koch blocked an agreement that had been reached in principle to resolve the impasse. The agreement would have required the MTA to spend $5 million a year over eight years to make about 40 stations accessible and equipped every bus on the system with wheelchair lifts within fifteen years. He opposed making stations accessible, writing, "I have concluded that it is simply wrong to spend $50 million in the next eight years—and ultimately more—in putting elevators in the subways."
On June 29, 1984, Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the State Assembly and State Senate reached a settlement agreement in spite of Mayor Koch's objections. The agreement amended the New York State Transportation and Building Laws to require the MTA to install elevators in 54 stations, of which 38 were designated in the legislation, while eight were to be chosen by the MTA, with the remaining eight to be chosen by a new 11-member New York City Transportation Disabled Committee. The MTA would be required to spend $5 million a year over eight years to make station accessible and to equip 65 percent of buses wheelchair lifts. At least eight stations had to become accessible within five years of when the legislation took effect. The New York City Transportation Disabled Committeee would develop a plan for a pilot paratransit service within 210 days. The service would have a $5 million annual budget.:1–2 The legislation was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on July 23, 1984 and the MTA Board approved a resolution in agreement with the legislation on July 25, 1984. A settlement agreement was approved on September 24, 1984, allowing the MTA to start work renovating 88 subway stations.
On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law, requiring all transit systems to making their services and facilities fully accessible to people with disabilities. A provision of the legislation required all transit agencies to submit a key station plan to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by July 26, 1992. As part of the plan, agencies were required to include the methodology they used to select key stations and a timeline for the completion of the accessibility improvements. Though stations were required to be made accessible by July 1993, transit agencies were granted permission to extend the deadline by as many as thirty years. As part of New York City Transit's key station plan, 54 stations were to be made ADA-accessible by 2010.:2
Between 1986 and 1991, the number of handicapped people using buses in New York City increased from 11,000 rides a year to 120,000. In 1991, 90 percent of buses were equipped with wheelchair lifts, and ten of the 54 key stations were made wheelchair-accessible. The New York City Transit Authority had also made efforts to improve training for its employees and bus operators to on how to assist people with disabilities and on how to operate wheelchair lifts. At least one train car in each subway train had to be accessible by 1993, and major subway stations were supposed to be retrofitted with elevators or ramps by 1995.
The MTA created the New York City Transit ADA Compliance Coordination Committee (CCC) in June 1992. The committee works to coordinate the MTA's accessibility plan, as well as reaches out to disabled MTA riders.:253 The MTA also provides training to disabled riders, the families of disabled riders, and mobility specialists. Between 1995 and 2019, it has trained 775 passengers.:308
In 1994, amendments were made to the New York State Transportation and Public Building Laws, increasing the key station obligation from 54 stations to a list of 100 stations to be completed by 2020. Of the 100 new stations, 91 were specified immediately, including 37 additional stations that were chosen in accordance with FTA and MTA criteria and discussions at five public forums. The remaining nine stations were to be selected following discussions with the Transportation Disabled Committee and public advocates.:2 However, this revision also stipulated that the subway and Staten Island Railway were exempt from making accessibility modifications that were, by law, required for other public buildings.:261 Shortly after this modification, 66th Street–Lincoln Center (1 train) and Prospect Park–Brighton (B, Q, and S trains) were added to the list of 91 stations. There were also three options for modifying the list of 91 stations. They included adding Broadway–Lafayette Street (B, D, F, <F>, and M trains) and Bleecker Street (6 and <6> trains); replacing Broad Street with Chambers Street (both served by the J and Z trains) and Church Avenue with Kings Highway (both served by the B and Q trains); or modifying dates for several key stations. The public supported all of these options.:247
On February 25, 1994, the MTA Board approved the submission of the bill to the Governor to expand the key station obligation from the 54 stations in the plan at the time and 37 additional stations to be completed through 2020. In May 1994, the MTA Board approved the addition of contracts to make seven of the 37 stations accessible during station renovation projects between 1994 and 1996 to the 1992–1996 Capital Program. These stations were 14th Street, Eighth Avenue, 207th Street, Church Avenue, 72nd Street, Lexington Avenue and 47th–50th Streets–Rockefeller Center. The first two were set to be awarded in 1994, the next two in 1995, and the final three in 1996. The contracts were added on the assumption that the bill would be signed so as to not delay the projects and to avoid having to return to the stations after their renovation projects were completed to add elevators. These projects required $60.9 million.:F.1–F.10
The Federal Transit Administration approved the list of 95 key stations in June 2000. Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue (A train) and East 180th Street (2 and 5 trains) were added to the 100-station list in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Subsequently, a new South Ferry station (1 train) and the existing Eastern Parkway–Brooklyn Museum station (2, 3, 4, and 5 trains) were respectively selected in 2003 and 2004. The hundredth station was the subject of some debate, but the MTA ultimately decided to choose Bedford Park Boulevard (B and D trains).:261
As part of the 2015–2019 Capital Program, $300 million was allocated to enhance station access and provide ADA-accessibility at fifteen stations chosen by the city. Four stations were chosen in January 2018: 170th Street (4 train), Broadway Junction (A and C trains' platforms), Livonia Avenue (L train), and Queensboro Plaza (7, <7>, N, and W trains). Four more stations are being evaluated. These stations are the J and Z trains' platforms at Broadway Junction, as well as Union Street (R train), Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue (7 and <7> trains), and East Broadway (F and <F> trains). In April 2018, the MTA added an ADA-accessibility project at Westchester Square–East Tremont Avenue (6 and <6> trains) as part of the 2015–2019 Capital Program.
In 2018, as part of the MTA's Fast Forward program to improve subway and bus service, an Executive Accessibility Advisor was hired at New York City Transit Authority chief Andy Byford's request, reporting directly to Byford. However, the MTA's efforts were still seen as inadequate. After a woman died in January 2019 from falling down a staircase at Seventh Avenue, a station with no elevators, officials criticized the MTA for not adding enough elevators, and one advocacy group released an unofficial map of stations that should receive accessibility upgrades.
As of May 2018[update], ADA-accessibility projects are expected to be started or completed at fifty stations as part of the 2020–2024 Capital Program. This would allow one of every two to four stations on every line to be accessible, so that all non-accessible stops would be a maximum of two stops from an accessible station.:37 In June 2018, it was announced that the Sixth Avenue station on the L train would receive elevators following the 14th Street Tunnel shutdown in 2019–2020. As part of the plan to add fifty ADA-accessible stations, the MTA surveyed the 345 non-accessible stations for possible ADA-accessibility.:93–94 After the accessibility report was released in February 2019, the MTA indicated that it might possibly only retrofit 36 of 50 stations because of a lack of funding. However, in the draft 2020–2024 Capital Program released in September 2019, it was indicated that 66 stations might receive ADA improvements. Plans for ADA access at another 20 stations were announced that December.
The MTA has been criticized for its inaccessibility, particularly in the New York City Subway. Only 119 of 472 (25%) of all of the subway system's stations are fully accessible to people with disabilities as of 2018[update], among the lowest percentages of any major transit system in the world. There are some lines where two accessible stations are separated by ten or more non-accessible stops. By contrast, Boston's MBTA subway and the Chicago "L", which are as old or older as the New York City Subway, have higher rates of accessible subway stations. A report from the New York City Comptroller published in July 2018 found that, out of the 189 neighborhoods officially recognized by the city, 122 have at least one subway station. Of the 122 neighborhoods with subway stations, only 62 have any accessible stations. Some places such as Woodlawn, South Brooklyn, and Stapleton, as well as neighborhoods with large elderly or young populations, do not have any accessible stations. The Comptroller's report found that approximately 640,000 young, elderly, or disabled residents in the city did not have access to any nearby accessible stations, while another 760,000 residents did have such access. As a result, the unemployment rate tends to be higher among disabled residents of New York City. Additionally, the 25% labor force participation rate among disabled residents is one-third that of non-disabled residents' labor force participation rate of 75%.
Many transfer stations, such as Broadway Junction on the A, C, J, L, and Z trains; Delancey Street/Essex Street on the F, <F>, J, M, and Z trains; and 14th Street/Sixth Avenue on the 1, 2, 3, F and <F>, L, and M trains are not wheelchair-accessible, making it harder to travel between different parts of the city. The G and Rockaway Park Shuttle each have one accessible station, while the 42nd Street Shuttle is not accessible. Several stations also only contain elevators leading from street level to their respective mezzanines.[c] Additionally, some stations on the LIRR are not accessible, including four consecutive stations on the Babylon Branch, which is entirely above ground.
As per the ADA, if a station is significantly modified, at least 20% of the renovation's cost must be spent on ADA improvements, but this is not always the case in the New York City Subway system. For example, the Smith–Ninth Streets station was renovated for two years and reopened in 2013 without any elevators. None of the stations being renovated under the Enhanced Station Initiative, which began in 2017, are proposed to include elevators, except for the stations already equipped with them (e.g. Hunts Point Avenue). There have also been several lawsuits over this issue. In 2011, the MTA added a single elevator at the Dyckman Street station (1 train) after a lawsuit by the United Spinal Association midway during the station's renovation. In 2016, the MTA was sued by another disability rights group for not installing an elevator at the Middletown Road station during a 2014 renovation. Similarly, in 2017, disability rights groups filed a class-action suit against the MTA because the subway in general was inaccessible, which violated both state and federal laws. The federal government sued the MTA in March 2018 over a lack of elevators at Middletown Road and the Enhanced Station Initiative stops. In March 2019, federal district judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that all subway station renovations that "affect the station's usability" must include upgrades to make the station fully accessible unless it is deemed unfeasible to do so.
Several stations that serve major sports venues in the metropolitan area also have little to no accessibility; the Mets–Willets Point subway station, located adjacent to Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), is only accessible through a ramp at a southern side platform, which are only open during special events. Similarly, the connecting Long Island Rail Road station of the same name is not ADA compliant, nor is the LIRR station serving Belmont Park. The Aqueduct Racetrack subway station, serving the eponymous racetrack in South Ozone Park, was inaccessible until 2013, following a two-year renovation project at the behest of Resorts World Casino, which opened near the racetrack in 2011. Although all New York City buses are accessible, transfers between bus routes, as well as the bus trips themselves, are usually cumbersome because buses run at a much lower frequency than the subway does.
|System||Accessible station count||Overall station count||Percentage|
|NYC Subway (individual)||122||472||26%|
|NYC Subway (combined)||96||424||23%|
|Staten Island Railway||5||21||24%|
|Long Island Rail Road||105||124||85%|
New York City SubwayEdit
As of July 2020[update], out of 472 total stations in the New York City Subway system, 122 (or 26%) are accessible to some extent;[e] many of them have AutoGate access. If station complexes are counted as one, then 98 out of the system's 424 stations are accessible to some extent (or 23%). Additionally, there are 16 more non-ADA-accessible stations with cross-platform interchanges, as well as other same-platform transfers, designed to handle wheelchair transfers. The MTA is primarily working to make 100 "key stations" accessible by 2020 to comply with the ADA.[a] As of July 2020[update], 89 of these stations are accessible while 10 are under construction and one under design.:250 It has also retrofitted 34 "non-key stations" and is planning to retrofit 11 more non-key stations.
Because of how they were designed, many existing subway stations were built with narrow platforms, as such making it difficult to install wheelchairs in such stations. Nine station complexes in the system have a mix of accessible platforms and non-accessible platforms.[b]
As of September 2020[update], there are 60 ADA compliant stations in Manhattan out of 151 (40%),[f] or 43 (36%) if stations in complexes are counted as one. Stations built after 1990 are marked with an asterisk (*).
|Station||Services||Accessible entrance and notes|
|14th Street/Eighth Avenue|| ||
|14th Street–Union Square|| |
|34th Street–Herald Square||
|34th Street–Hudson Yards*||||
|34th Street–Penn Station|| ||
|34th Street–Penn Station|| ||
|49th Street|| ||
|50th Street|| ||
|59th Street–Columbus Circle|| ||
|66th Street–Lincoln Center||||
|72nd Street|| ||
|72nd Street*|| ||
|86th Street*|| ||
|96th Street|| ||
|96th Street*|| ||
|125th Street|| ||
|125th Street|| ||
|Broadway–Lafayette Street/Bleecker Street||
|Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall/Chambers Street|| ||
|Chambers Street|| ||
|Cortlandt Street/World Trade Center|| ||
|Fulton Street|| ||
|Grand Central–42nd Street|| ||
|Lexington Avenue–63rd Street||
|Times Square–42nd Street / Port Authority Bus Terminal||
|West 4th Street–
|Station||Services||Accessible entrance and notes|
|Third Avenue–149th Street||||
|161st Street–Yankee Stadium|| ||
|East 180th Street||||
|Gun Hill Road||||
|Hunts Point Avenue||||
|Pelham Bay Park||||
|Station||Services||Accessible entrance and notes|
|62nd Street/New Utrecht Avenue|| |
|Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center||
|Borough Hall|| |
|Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue|| ||
|Crown Heights–Utica Avenue|| ||
|DeKalb Avenue|| ||
|Flatbush Avenue–Brooklyn College||||
|Franklin Avenue–Fulton Street|| ||
|Jay Street–MetroTech|| ||
|Prospect Park|| ||
|Station||Services||Accessible entrance and notes|
|Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue||
|Forest Hills–71st Avenue|| ||
|Howard Beach–JFK Airport||
|Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer||No current service ||
|Kew Gardens–Union Turnpike||||
|Ozone Park–Lefferts Boulevard||
|Queens Plaza|| ||
|Rockaway Park–Beach 116th Street||||
|Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport||No current service ||
Staten Island RailwayEdit
|Station||Accessible entrance and notes|
As of September 2018[update], 185 out of the 248 stations (75%) in the entire MTA commuter rail system are accessible by wheelchair. Many of them are ground or grade-level stations, thus requiring little modification to accessibility. A few stations, including the entire Babylon Branch, are above ground, but some have been renovated or retrofitted with elevators to meet ADA standards. 57% of the accessible stations in the MTA's railroad system are Long Island Rail Road stations. During the late 1990s, the LIRR began converting much of its low-floor, at-grade stations into high-floor platforms. Rather than renovate to meet ADA standards, ten low-floor stations, including the surviving five on the Lower Montauk Branch were closed on March 13, 1998, due to low patronage, and incompatibility with then-new C3 bi-level coach cars that can only use high platforms. Five of the LIRR's branches are entirely accessible from east of Jamaica: the Long Beach Branch, Montauk Branch, Oyster Bay Branch, Port Jefferson Branch, and Ronkonkoma Branch. The West Hempstead Branch has only one non-accessible station along its line, St. Albans.
On January 8, 2020, as part of the 2020–2024 Capital Plan, the MTA announced the three additional Metro-North stations to receive elevators.
Long Island Rail RoadEdit
As of February 2020[update], 106 of the 124 LIRR stations (85%) are accessible by wheelchair ramp and/or elevator. Stations that meet full ADA requirements are highlighted in bold. (Other stations are wheelchair accessible but may be missing some ADA features).
- Atlantic Terminal
- Bay Shore
- Carle Place
- Central Islip
- Centre Avenue
- Country Life Press
- Deer Park
- East Hampton
- East Rockaway
- East Williston
- Far Rockaway
- Flushing–Main Street
- Forest Hills
- Garden City
- Glen Cove
- Glen Head
- Glen Street
- Great Neck
- Great River
- Hampton Bays
- Hempstead Gardens
- Island Park
- Kings Park
- Little Neck
- Locust Valley
- Long Beach
- Long Island City
- Merillon Avenue
- Murray Hill
- Nassau Boulevard
- New Hyde Park
- Nostrand Avenue
- Oyster Bay
- Penn Station
- Port Jefferson
- Port Washington
- Queens Village
- Rockville Centre
- Sea Cliff
- St. James
- Stewart Manor
- Stony Brook
- Valley Stream
- West Hempstead
As of January 2018[update], 79 of the 124 Metro-North stations (64%) are accessible by wheelchair ramp and/or elevator. Stations that meet full ADA requirements are highlighted in bold. (Other stations are wheelchair accessible but may be missing some ADA features). Stations built after 1990 are marked with an asterisk (*).
- Bedford Hills
- Botanical Garden
- Campbell Hall
- Cold Spring
- Croton Falls
- Dobbs Ferry
- Dover Plains
- Fairfield Metro*
- Goldens Bridge
- Grand Central Terminal
- Harlem–125th Street
- Harlem Valley–Wingdale
- Ludlow (northbound service only)
- Middletown–Town of Wallkill
- Morris Heights
- Mount Kisco
- Mount Vernon East
- Mount Vernon West
- New Canaan
- New Haven
- New Haven State Street*
- New Rochelle
- North White Plains
- Port Chester
- Salisbury Mills–Cornwall
- South Norwalk*
- Spring Valley
- Spuyten Duyvil
- Tenmile River*
- University Heights
- West Haven*
- White Plains
- Yankees–East 153rd Street*
All MTA buses and routes are wheelchair accessible, since all current fleet were built and entered service in the 2000s or later, after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.:247 As of May 2019[update], all fleet of non-express buses consists of semi-low floors with wheelchair ramps, while all express buses have high floors and contained lifts. Many retired fleet are high-level buses, and many of the fleet built before 1990 do not comply with ADA standards.
The federal government started requiring that half of all MTA buses be accessible in 1981. However, the wheelchair lifts on the earliest wheelchair-accessible buses were unreliable. By 1983, less than a third of the 3,600-vehicle MTA fleet were accessible, and it was impossible to tell which routes had accessible buses because they were dispatched randomly. Drivers sometimes refused to pick up handicapped passengers, or they did not carry keys for lift-equipped buses, or the lifts were operated improperly. As part of a disability-lawsuit agreement in June 1984, Governor Mario Cuomo agreed to equip 65% of MTA buses with wheelchair lifts.
The number of handicapped riders on MTA buses rose eleven-fold between 1986 and 1991. By 1991, a year after the ADA law was passed, the bus system saw 120,000 disabled passengers per year. 90% of the fleet was wheelchair-accessible, compared to other cities' transit systems, which had much lower percentages of accessible buses in their fleets. The last non-accessible bus in MTA New York City Bus's fleet was retired in 1993. However, private operators retained non-accessible buses. The last non-accessible bus on any New York City public transit, Motor Coach Industries' Classic (SC40-102A), ran on these private routes (which later became part of MTA Bus Company) until it was retired in 2007.
In the calendar year of 2019, the MTA recorded over 1.5 million bus customers who used wheelchair ramps or lifts.:253 All MTA Bus operators are required to have ADA training. The newest buses have hands-free intercom systems for drivers.:254
The New York City Transit Authority also operates paratransit services branded as Access-A-Ride (AAR) for disabled customers who cannot use regular bus or subway service in New York City, and nearby areas in Nassau and Westchester counties, within MTA's three-quarter mile service area. AAR is available at all times. In addition, AAR has dedicated pickup locations around the city. Passengers are charged the same $2.75 fare on AAR as on regular transit.
The paratransit system began as a $5 million pilot program following the passage of the ADA law. The services are contracted to private companies. In 1993, because many disabled riders were being refused service in violation of the ADA, the MTA announced an expansion of the program. The service was carrying 300,000 yearly riders back then. In 1998, in response to a discrimination lawsuit, the Access-A-Ride program underwent another expansion. At the time, despite having 1 million annual customers the program only had 300 vehicles and Access-A-Ride journeys often took several hours, while only twenty-six subway stations were ADA-accessible.
The paratransit system has come under scrutiny by the media for being unwieldy: rides must be booked 24 to 48 hours in advance; it is costly to operate; and vehicles often show up late or fail to show up at all. AAR vehicles were defined as being "on time" when they arrived within 30 minutes of the scheduled time, and in 2017, two pilot programs were implemented to speed up AAR service. Nonetheless, its operating cost was $461 million per year as of 2015, which is relatively high considering that only 150,000 people use it every year. Howard Roberts, a former high-ranking MTA official, was quoted as saying that "it probably has turned out to be … a hundred times more expensive to go with buses and paratransit than it would have been to bite the bullet and simply rehabilitate the stations and put elevators in." The Access-A-Ride service competes with options such as accessible taxis, although accessible taxis only make up a small percentage of the city's entire taxi fleet. As part of the 2018 MTA Action Plan, the MTA would improve the Access-A-Ride interface to make the ride-hailing, vehicle scheduling, and traveling processes easier.:42
Future accessible stationsEdit
The following is a table of stations that may or will become ADA-accessible in the future.
- Renovation in progress: Station is currently undergoing renovations to put it in compliance with ADA standards
- Under construction: Station is currently being built; all new stations must be compliant with ADA standards
- Proposed station: Station to be built on existing lines
- Contract award pending: Station will undergo renovations to put it in compliance with ADA standards once a contract for these renovations has been awarded
- In design: Station is currently being planned to receive ADA improvements, and a design process for an elevator or ramp installation is underway
- In planning (funded): Station is currently being planned to receive ADA improvements, but a design process for an elevator or ramp installation is not yet underway. However, funding is available for the design and potential construction of such improvements in the next five-year capital program (as of 2019[update], this would be the 2020–2024 program).
- In planning: Station is currently being planned to receive ADA improvements, but a design process for an elevator or ramp installation is not yet underway
- In pre-planning: Station has tentatively been identified as a candidate to receive ADA improvements, but a design process for an elevator or ramp installation is not yet underway
As of August 2020[update], there are 2 commuter rail and 9 subway stations where ADA renovations are underway; 1 station under construction; and 7 proposed stations across the MTA's commuter rail and rapid transit systems. Four of the stations listed below are already partially accessible. In addition, there are 39 subway stations where final contracts, design or planning is underway (32 if station complexes are counted as one station), as well as 2 commuter rail stations where design is underway. Another 46 subway stations (45 if complexes are counted as one) and 8 commuter rail stations are in pre-planning.
There were several "station groupings" that were proposed by the MTA in February 2019. At least one station in each grouping is slated to receive ADA improvements. In total, 24 groupings were proposed: three each in Queens and Staten Island, four each in the Bronx and Manhattan, and 10 in Brooklyn. An internal MTA list in July 2019 narrowed down these choices. These stations were included in the list of 48 stations that were confirmed as being under consideration for ADA-accessibility in an announcement in September 2019.
The following listing excludes stations that are already accessible but will receive ADA renovations anyway. These stations include Forest Hills on the LIRR Main Line in Queens:201 and Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway on the L train in Brooklyn.:90
|Avenue H||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||Northbound platform only; southbound platform already accessible(24:32 to 46:16)|
|8th Avenue||||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||Southbound platform only; northbound platform already accessible:92|
|57th Street–7th Avenue[g]|| ||Manhattan||Renovation in progress||:90|
|59th Street (4th Avenue)|| ||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||:90|
|Bedford Park Boulevard||||The Bronx||Renovation in progress||:90|
|Eastern Parkway–Brooklyn Museum|| ||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||:90|
|Greenpoint Avenue||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||:90|
|Gun Hill Road (Seymour Avenue)||The Bronx||Renovation in progress||:90|
|Floral Park||LIRR: Main Line||Nassau County||Renovation in progress||Renovations planned as part of the Main Line third track project|
|Port Jervis||MNRR: Port Jervis Line||Orange County||Renovation in progress|||
|Times Square||Manhattan||Renovation in progress||42nd Street Shuttle platforms only; rest of station complex accessible:90|
|Grand Central Terminal||LIRR: 63rd Street Branch||Manhattan||Under construction||Being built as part of the East Side Access project|
|Co-op City||MNRR: New Haven Line||The Bronx||Proposed station||Planned as part of the Penn Station Access project|
|Elmhurst||LIRR: Port Washington Branch||Queens||Proposed station|||
|Elmont||LIRR: Hempstead Branch||Queens/Nassau County||Proposed station|||
|Hunts Point||MNRR: New Haven Line||The Bronx||Proposed station||Planned as part of the Penn Station Access project|
|Morris Park||MNRR: New Haven Line||The Bronx||Proposed station||Planned as part of the Penn Station Access project|
|Parkchester||MNRR: New Haven Line||The Bronx||Proposed station||Planned as part of the Penn Station Access project|
|Republic||LIRR: Ronkonkoma Branch||Suffolk County||Proposed station|||
|Sunnyside||LIRR: Main Line||Queens||Proposed station||Planned as part of the East Side Access project|
|68th Street–Hunter College||||Manhattan||Contract award pending||:91|
|149th Street–Grand Concourse|| ||The Bronx||Contract award pending||:91|
|Bay Ridge–95th Street||Brooklyn||Contract award pending||:91:24|
|Queensboro Plaza|| ||Queens||Contract award pending||MTA "City Station" candidate:91(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Court Square||Queens||Contract award pending||Stair installation complete; elevators in design:91|
|Woodhaven Boulevard||||Queens||Contract award pending||:91|
|14th Street/Sixth Avenue|| ||Manhattan||Contract award pending||:91|
|170th Street||The Bronx||Renovation in progress||MTA "City Station" candidate:91(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Livonia Avenue||Brooklyn||Renovation in progress||To be made into a station complex with Junius Street; MTA "City Station" candidate:91|
|Mets–Willets Point||LIRR: Port Washington Branch||Queens||In design|||
|Westchester Square–East Tremont Avenue||||The Bronx||Contract award pending|||
|77th Street||Brooklyn||In planning (design stage funded)||:91|
|Avenue I||||Brooklyn||In planning (design stage funded)||In Borough Park station grouping|
|Broadway Junction|| ||Brooklyn||In planning (design stage funded)||MTA "City Station" candidate:91(24:32 to 46:16):24|
|Kings Highway||||Brooklyn||In planning (design stage funded)||In second Bensonhurst station grouping:24|
|Neptune Avenue||||Brooklyn||In planning (design stage funded)||In second Bensonhurst station grouping:24|
|Tremont Avenue||||The Bronx||In design||In Tremont station grouping:21:24|
|36th Street|| ||Brooklyn||In planning||(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Beach 67th Street||Queens||Contract award pending||(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Borough Hall||||Brooklyn||In planning||Southbound platform only; northbound platform already accessible(24:32 to 46:16)|
|42nd Street–Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue[g]|| ||Manhattan||In planning|||
|Broad Street||||Manhattan||In planning|||
|Church Avenue||||Brooklyn||In planning||(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Delancey Street/Essex Street|| ||Manhattan||In planning||(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Dyckman Street||Manhattan||Contract award pending||Northbound platform only; southbound platform already accessible(24:32 to 46:16)|
|East Broadway||||Manhattan||In planning||Will be developed along with the 247 Cherry, 269 South Street, and 259 Clinton Street skyscrapers|
|Junius Street|| ||Brooklyn||In planning||To be made into a station complex with Livonia Avenue(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street||||Brooklyn||Contract award pending||(24:32 to 46:16)|
|Rector Street||Manhattan||In planning||Downtown platform only|
|Seventh Avenue||||Brooklyn||Contract award pending||In Carroll Gardens/Park Slope station grouping; previously unfunded|
|Union Street||Brooklyn||In planning|||
|Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue||||Queens||In planning|||
|Third Avenue–138th Street||||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Seventh Avenue|| ||Manhattan||In pre-planning|||
|18th Avenue||Brooklyn||In pre-planning|||
|33rd Street–Rawson Street||Queens||In pre-planning|||
|46th Street–Bliss Street||Queens||In pre-planning|||
|110th Street||||Manhattan||In pre-planning|||
|137th Street–City College||Manhattan||Contract award pending||In Harlem station grouping|
|167th Street||||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|168th Street[g]||Manhattan||In pre-planning||In Washington Heights/Inwood station grouping|
|181st Street[g]||Manhattan||Contract award pending|||
|81st Street–Museum of Natural History||||Manhattan||In pre-planning|||
|86th Street|| ||Manhattan||In pre-planning||In Upper East Side station grouping|
|96th Street||||Manhattan||In pre-planning||In Upper West Side station grouping|
|Amityville||LIRR: Babylon Branch||Suffolk County||In pre-planning||As part of a lawsuit settlement|
|Broadway||||Queens||Contract award pending|||
|Brook Avenue||The Bronx||Contract award pending||In Mott Haven station grouping|
|Burnside Avenue||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Classon Avenue||Brooklyn||Contract award pending||In Bedford–Stuyvesant station grouping|
|Clifton||Staten Island Railway||Staten Island||In pre-planning||In Fox Hills/Rosebank station grouping |
|Copiague||LIRR: Babylon Branch||Suffolk County||In pre-planning||:201|
|Court Square–23rd Street||||Queens||Contract award pending|||
|East 149th Street||The Bronx||Contract award pending||In Mott Haven station grouping|
|Grand Street||Brooklyn||Contract award pending||In Maspeth station grouping|
|Harlem–148th Street||Manhattan||Contract award pending|||
|Hollis||LIRR: Main Line||Queens||In pre-planning||:201|
|Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets[g]|| ||Brooklyn||In pre-planning|||
|Huguenot||Staten Island Railway||Staten Island||In pre-planning||In Woodrow station grouping|
|Hunterspoint Avenue||LIRR: Main Line||Queens||In pre-planning||:201|
|Jefferson Street||Brooklyn||In pre-planning|||
|Kings Highway||Brooklyn||In pre-planning||In first Bensonhurst station grouping|
|Kingsbridge Road||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Lexington Avenue/59th Street|| ||Manhattan||In pre-planning|||
|Lindenhurst||LIRR: Babylon Branch||Suffolk County||In pre-planning||As part of a lawsuit settlement|
|Locust Manor||LIRR: Atlantic Branch||Queens||In pre-planning||:201|
|Ludlow||MNRR: Hudson Line||Westchester County||In pre-planning||:27, 209|
|Mosholu Parkway||The Bronx||Contract award pending||In Woodlawn station grouping|
|Myrtle Avenue||||Brooklyn||In pre-planning||In Bushwick station grouping|
|New Dorp||Staten Island Railway||Staten Island||In pre-planning||In New Dorp Beach/Richmondtown station grouping |
|New Lots Avenue||Brooklyn||In pre-planning||In second East New York station grouping|
|Northern Boulevard||||Queens||In pre-planning|||
|Norwood Avenue||||Brooklyn||In pre-planning||In first East New York station grouping|
|Nostrand Avenue||||Brooklyn||In pre-planning|||
|Parkchester||||The Bronx||In pre-planning||In Parkchester/Soundview station grouping|
|Parsons Boulevard|| ||Queens||In pre-planning|||
|Rockaway Boulevard||Queens||In pre-planning||In Ozone Park station grouping|
|Sheepshead Bay||||Brooklyn||In pre-planning||In Brighton Beach station grouping|
|St. Albans||LIRR: Montauk Branch||Queens||In pre-planning||:201|
|Steinway Street||||Queens||Contract award pending||In Jackson Heights station grouping|
|Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Wakefield||MNRR: Harlem Line||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Wakefield–241st Street||The Bronx||Contract award pending|||
|Williams Bridge||MNRR: Harlem Line||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
|Woodhaven Boulevard||||Queens||Contract award pending||In Rego Park station grouping|
|Woodlawn||MNRR: Harlem Line||The Bronx||In pre-planning|||
- The 100 key stations include 97 subway stations and three Staten Island Railway stations. They also count several station complexes as separate stations: for example, Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal is counted five times.:248–250
- This excludes the Grand Central shuttle platforms which are wheelchair accessible, and are located on the same mezzanine where street and platform elevators are located; the 42nd Street Shuttle is inaccessible at its Times Square platform. The eight station complexes, along with its inaccessible services, are:
- 14th Street–Union Square (4, 5, 6, and <6> trains)
- 168th Street (1 train)
- Borough Hall/Court Street (N, R, and W trains; southbound 4 and 5 trains)
- Canal Street (N, Q, R, and W trains; J and Z trains)
- Chambers Street–World Trade Center/Park Place (2 and 3 trains; A and C trains)
- Court Square–23rd Street (E and M trains; G train)
- South Ferry/Whitehall Street (N, R, and W trains)
- Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal (S train)
- These stations include:
- All stations where only part of the station complex is accessible, but a given set of platforms are not[b]
- 42nd Street–Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue (7, <7>, B, D, F, <F>, and M trains)
- 57th Street–Seventh Avenue (N, Q, R, and W trains)
- 181st Street and 191st Street (1 train)
- 181st Street and 190th Street (A train)
- Briarwood (E, F, and <F> trains)
- Clark Street (2 and 3 trains)
- Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets (A, C, and G trains)
- When conforming to international standards, there are six commuter rail stations that have a direct connection to subway services (i.e., a connection could be made without exiting the structure, or traveling along the street). This count was conducted by condensing all subway and rail stations with connecting infrastructures within one another as one complex. This excludes stations that are close in proximity, but have no share mezzanine or connecting passageway (E.g. The subway and rail stations along Main Street in Flushing, Queens requires a walk on street level, and has no connecting infrastructure or passageway between the separate stations, and thus does not count as a connecting complex).
The six rail stations that currently share connecting infrastructures with subway stations are as follows:
- Atlantic Terminal, with a connection to the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, R and W trains at Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center: connection is made indoors
- Grand Central Terminal, with a connection to the 4, 5, 6, <6>, 7, <7>, and S trains at Grand Central–42nd Street: connection is made indoors
- Jamaica, with a connection to the No current service, J, and Z trains at Sutphin Boulevard–Archer Avenue–JFK Airport: connection can be made via station house
- Mets–Willets Point, with a connection to the 7 and <7> trains at Mets–Willets Point: connection can be made via pedestrian bridge
- Pennsylvania Station, with a connection to the 1, 2, and 3 trains at 34th Street–Penn Station (Seventh Avenue), and the A, C, and E trains at 34th Street–Penn Station (Eighth Avenue): connection is made indoors
- Woodside, with a connection to the 7 and <7> trains at 61st Street–Woodside: connection can be made via connecting mezzanine
- This includes station complexes but excludes some non-accessible platforms at such complexes.
- There are actually 154 stations if one is to use MTA counting standards, but the MTA only lists 151 stations in Manhattan. It is to be assumed that two complexes, with two stations each, were both counted as one station during the official count. Several station complexes are counted as one station by both MTA and international standards.
- This station already has elevator(s) between ground and mezzanine level, but none to the platforms
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