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Disabled Tell of Poor Service From Public Transit Providers

From across the city they arrived, using walkers, wheelchairs or canes.

In sometimes painfully slow speech, the message was repeated passionately Thursday to the city’s Commission on Disability: We often feel like second-class citizens on buses, cabs and other public transportation.

Cabs refuse to stop for the blind with seeing-eye dogs; some bus lifts can’t accommodate all wheelchairs; and many transit services run hours late, stranding clients in the rain and late at night.

At a 5 1/2-hour public hearing Thursday, the city’s Commission on Disability heard plenty of tales of missed doctors’ appointments and late arrivals at jobs.

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Commissioners also questioned the city’s Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other transit groups about why the disabled are not better served.

Those agencies said they are working to improve services, including imposing a requirement that all city cabs post plaques in Braille listing the operator’s name and number so that complaints can be tracked.

Starting in September, the MTA will give free rides to the disabled and their personal care attendants on all MTA bus and rail lines, including subway and light rail, agency officials say. To be eligible, riders must be certified by Access Services, the agency that coordinates county transit for the disabled.


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