MTA expands e-hail pilot to enhance paratransit options for Access-A-Ride customers

Posted: 29 June 2023 | | No comments yet

MTA triples its e-hail pilot, expanding on-demand paratransit options for Access-A-Ride customers, enhancing flexibility and convenience.

MTA expands e-hail pilot to enhance paratransit options for Access-A-Ride customers

Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced that it is expanding its e-hail pilot programme, which allows Access-A-Ride (AAR) customers to book on-demand trips through existing taxi or for-hire vehicle services. Starting in August 2023, the programme will triple its participants to 3,600 paratransit customers.

The expansion will have two programmes: the Distance option, which provides up to 25 trips per month for up to $40 each, and the High-Volume option, which offers up to 40 trips per month for up to $25 each. Customers can travel beyond their allocated amount and pay the remaining trip cost. The programme will be launched with a $4 co-pay.

The expanded E-Hail pilot will be provided by Uber, Arro, Corporate Transportation Group and the Drivers Cooperative, with the possibility of additional providers joining. The programme aims to improve the paratransit experience and offer alternative options for Access-A-Ride customers. MTA plans to evaluate the programme’s benefits and costs through February 2024, with a potential extension through August 2024.

The e-hail pilot’s second phase aims to gather more data for programme evaluation and determine the cost of expanding the service. Participants will have access to both e-hail and the standard Access-A-Ride service, with no travel limits within the AAR service area at the current fare of $2.75.

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MTA has allocated a budget of $17.6 million for the expanded e-hail pilot, compared to the estimated $16 million in the first phase. Phase 1 findings revealed that the programme was not financially sustainable, leading to the implementation of defined trip and subsidy allocations in Phase 2.

The expansion has received positive feedback from state senators and assembly members, highlighting the improved accessibility and convenience it brings to paratransit-dependent New Yorkers.

“We recognise the convenience greater flexibility in scheduling trips provides for Access-A-Ride customers,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “We established the goal to make improvements to the e-hail programme in the Faster, Cleaner, Safer plan and this next step will allow us to further evaluate how we can offer alternative options to Access-A-Ride customers to improve the paratransit experience.”

“I know first-hand how e-hail on-demand can significantly improve our customers’ lives,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “I am glad to see us taking these steps to find a sustainable way forward for our e-hail pilot that can serve more AAR customers, while continuing to invest in our core paratransit service, providing tens of thousands of daily trips.”