MTA Access-A-Ride paratransit service achieves record customer satisfaction

Posted: 14 February 2023 | | No comments yet

As a result of significant improvements in on-time performance and driver no-shows, combined with investments in technology, MTA’s Access-A-Ride paratransit service has achieved record levels of customer satisfaction.

MTA Access-A-Ride paratransit service achieves record customer satisfaction

Credit: MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced that its Access-A-Ride (AAR) paratransit service has achieved its highest levels of customer satisfaction since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On-time performance from primary carriers, also referred to as the ‘blue and white vans’, increased from 90% in September 2021 to 98% in January 2023, while driver no-shows fell from a high of 6.6 to just 0.6 per 1,000 scheduled trips over the same period. On broker services, on-time performance increased from a 84% in November 2021 to 95% in January 2023 on rides provided in taxis and for-hire vehicles, and no-shows fell during the same period.

In addition, new data from the January Pulse Survey, the authority’s online survey of paratransit customers, found that overall paratransit customer satisfaction for Access-A-Ride reached 76% in January 2023 – the highest number ever recorded for paratransit service in that questionnaire. Due to the improved on-time paratransit performance, MTA is in the process of tightening how to measure on-time performance, lowering the threshold from a 30-minute window to a 20-minute window.

Furthermore, MTA continues to invest in leveraging technology to make the booking and travel experience even better for AAR customers. The authority rolled out new features for Access-a-Ride customers to book and track trips seamlessly on the MYmta website and app, responding directly to customer feedback requesting a better online and app-based experience.

“Access-A-Ride caters to the most vulnerable part of our transportation population, and it’s an amazing sign of progress that they are the ones who are returning to travel and getting around at the highest level,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “These customers are getting unprecedented quality service, and I want to thank the paratransit team for the efforts that resulted in record on-time performance and customer satisfaction.”

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“Re-imagining our Access-A-Ride service is one of my key goals as the MTA’s first Chief Accessibility Officer and as a paratransit customer myself, and I’m honoured to be working side-by-side with Chris and his team to roll-out this new and improved version of the MY AAR experience,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. 

The improvements to the MY AAR features within the MYmta app provide a more user-friendly, intuitive experience, making the app more accessible to all 170,000 Access-A-Ride customers. Users now have the ability to request a new login link and change their own password, giving riders more ability to control their own experience with the app instead of relying on MTA for individual support.

The updates also make it easier to find paratransit information and track trips, including banner alerts and notifications about cancelled trips. The app is now more screen reader friendly, increasing usability for the many AAR customers who are blind or have low vision. These enhancements respond specifically to feedback from customers using the app and are designed to allow MTA to greatly scale up usage across the AAR customer base.

“I had a fall in my home in April and came out of my rehab in June (2022),” said Access-A-Ride Customer Dr. Marcella Maxwell. “Access-A-Ride has been one of the most important components of my recovery. I am 95 years old, I’m able to go out every day, I’m able to participate in my physical therapy. I am thrilled because Access-A-Ride comes on time and because the employees and the staff that are driving the cars are polite, they are courteous and they are helpful.”