Group Claims MTA Service Cuts Violated Disabilities Act
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The elimination of 38 bus routes and two subway lines in June is hitting one group of New Yorkers especially hard.
The South Brooklyn Legal Center plans to file suit in Brooklyn Federal Court on behalf of the handicapped.
They say the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's bus and Access-A-Ride cuts deny the equal access guaranteed by the Americans With Disabilities Act, which became law 20 years ago.
Koert Wehberg, a blind attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, says the subway is not a viable alternative for the disabled.
"A person in a wheelchair can get on any bus. Whereas, even when you can look at the MTA's list of what they call key stations, the stations that are supposed to be accessible under the ADA, they might say they are accessible. But if the elevator is out of order, it might as well not be accessible," Wehberg said.
"I work in Manhattan. And I live in Brooklyn. So without those Brooklyn buses, I can only get to work with Access-A-Ride. Access-A-Ride is a wonderful service for most of us, but it's still accessibility by appointment, which is difficult," said disabled rider RueZalia Watkins.
MTA officials say the agency's financial crisis makes for difficult choices, adding, "The decision to cut service to help close our budget deficit has not been an easy one but it has been necessary. Cuts were made after careful study and after considering the input of our customers."