'On the Move' Newsletter: Spring/Summer 2019

What's Inside

NYCT President Andy Byford & Exec Team Visits Paratransit

Paratransit welcomed President Byford and the Executive team to our headquarters in Long Island City on Friday, October 12, 2018. The team acknowledged the great steps Paratransit has taken in addressing the Fast Forward initiatives:

  • Simplify Processes for Access-A-Ride (AAR) Customers
  • Provide E-hail Options for Eligible Customers
  • Modernize Scheduling & Dispatching of Dedicated Service
  • Launch an Accessible, All-in-One MyAAR app
  • Allow selected AAR Vehicles to use Bus Lanes

"I was very pleased to take the Executive team to our Paratransit headquarters just recently and it was fantastic to see the work that goes on there in the call center, in the command center, and just how much pride and attention to detail there is in our Paratransit team for that very important segment of our riding population," said President Byford.

Meet Paratransit’s New Vice President Michael Cosgrove

Michael Cosgrove, began his career with NYCT in June of 1986. Ten years later, he joined Paratransit as Contract Manager Officer and was promoted to Deputy VP in 2015. In these roles, Mr. Cosgrove provided operational support and insight for both the short and long term needs of Paratransit. Promoted to Paratransit VP in spring of 2018, his knowledge and foresight have helped to address the unique needs of our customers along with compliant implementation of innovative initiatives needed for the current and future delivery of service. Mr. Cosgrove praises the cooperative efforts of the entire Paratransit team - including our carriers and call center, as well as advocates and NYC agencies. He looks forward to these continued cooperative efforts to ensure the ever improving, safe and efficient delivery of service for all our customers.

There are many things I find rewarding about being part of the Paratransit family, but most of all, meeting customers who have shared their stories about how they would not have been able to travel to their job, school, or support their love of the arts, without access to Paratransit Service. I look forward to continuing to work with all our stakeholders to improve our program. - Michael Cosgrove

E-hail pilot update

Thank you to our customers and advocacy organizations for their positive comments regarding the E-hail Pilot Program. E-hail has been a huge success because of the reliability and flexibility that it brings. The program will continue in similar fashion through April 30, 2019. In the short term, we have introduced choice and added a third company. We are looking at programs run by other transit agencies and continue to work with our stake holders to define a sustainable vision of E-hail for the future.

Meet AAR’s Newest Editions

The MTA has purchased 400 new lift equipped vans. These new vans will replace older vehicles which have reached the end of their lifecycle. The new vans are equipped with a clean running and quiet gasoline engine. The interior of the vans has high ceiling for clearance, bright LED lighting and digital thermostat controls. The narrow body design is easier to maneuver on city streets as compared to the older Paratransit vehicles. These designs will result in reduced service disruptions, improved vehicle reliability and a more comfortable ride for our customers.

The new vans are being equipped with our AVLM system along with additional reflective decals and our dedicated carriers will receive them throughout this year and 2019.

New MTA/AAR Website and App

In the last issue of OTM, there was helpful information on how to access your AAR information with Manage My Trips (MMT). With MMT not only can you manage your AAR trips (schedule, cancel etc) but you can track your scheduled AAR or Broker vehicle's arrival. We have taken MMT one step further with the newly released MYmta / MYaar!! Within the app you can use MMT!!

If you have access to a computer, please visit https://new.mta.info/to find out more. If you have a Smartphone, please download the free MYmta app via Google Play Store or Apple's App Store. Remember if you had the BETA version of this app, please delete and reload the new app.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact AAR and press prompt #8.

Pickup and Appointment – What is the difference?

When making a reservation for an AAR trip, you are asked if the trip is an appointment or a pickup. What does this mean? Of course, a pickup time is when you would like AAR to arrive to pick you up. However, an appointment time is time you would like to arrive at your trip's destination.  While you can request either an appointment time or pickup time, with an appointment time AAR will schedule your trip within a more direct route. While we will make every effort to get you to your appointment on time, please consider your destination and allow time for security check points, elevators and other unforeseen delays.

Reservations can be made 7 days a week from 7 AM - 5 PM by calling AAR (#2) OR by using your computer, tablet or smart phone and signing up for MMT.

Your Help is Appreciated in making the trip a success

Thank you so much for helping to make your AAR trips a success by_

  • Having your exact fare and ID ready when boarding (any photo ID, including your AAR MetroCard or AAR ID card)
  • Showing mutual kindness and respect to all providing AAR service and your fellow passengers

It is our goal to provide safe, polite and efficient service and thank you for reporting the positive and not so positive experiences to our Comment Line. We will continue to monitor and enhance our training efforts to address all concerns.

Paratransit Outreach Around the Boroughs

Congratulations to centenarian Emily Manno, who was travel trained on her second route! The retired school teacher enjoys maintaining an active and independent and praises the program and her AAR MetroCard for allowing her to do so! To learn more about Travel Training, please call 516-465-1502.

Hello and thanks for stopping by our information table at The Allen Hospital (part of New York-Presbyterian) resource fair: Jacqueline and Cecelia Ford (with event coordinator Rose Cortez). The Mother (front) and Daughter are proudly showing off their AAR MetroCards. To learn more about getting your AAR MetroCard, please call AAR and press prompt #1.

Thank you and great job to Paratransit Superintendent John Morris and Premier Road Supervisors Christopher Reynolds and Christopher Cambridge! Along with NYCT Paratransit Superintendent Carlos Parrales and Outreach staff (Tammie Francisque and Shirley Teran-Marty with AAR customer Joanna Jackson). This courteous team coordinated AAR service for over 100 seniors attending Seniors by the Sea, an annual gathering hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at Kingsborough Community College’s MAC Lighthouse. If you’d like to commend your AAR driver or any member of the AAR team who went above and beyond, please call 877-337-2017 and press prompt #8 or use this link: https://mta-nyc.custhelp.com/app/ask Your thoughtfulness is appreciated!

AAR No-Show/Late Cancellation Policy

We made recent updates to our No-Show/Late Cancellation Policy that simplifies the process with a "point system. A customer no-show or late cancellation effects everyone. A no-show or late cancellation diverts resources and is an inconvenience to fellow AAR customers. We understand that things happen in our daily lives that is beyond our control and the intent of the policy is not to deny service. Therefore, customers will be given seven (7) points each month that can be used in the event of a no-show and/or late cancellation.  One point will then be deducted for each no-show and/or late cancellation that occurred during that month.   When a customer's no-shows and/or late cancellations exceed the allotted 7 points within the month, it will be considered a "pattern or practice" of missed trips and a violation of the Policy.

To read more about the updates to the AAR No-Show/Late Cancellation Policy and the appeal process, please visit https://new.mta.info/ and click on Paratransit. If you don't have Internet access, please call AAR (prompt # 8) and request a copy.

Did you know you could cancel your trip 24/7 by calling AAR and pressing prompt #4 or #5 OR using MMT.  However, when possible, please cancel your trip more than two hours before your scheduled pickup to prevent a point reduction.

The Convenience of Subscription Service

AAR customers who travel on the same day, at the same time and to the same place each week may want to consider signing up for AAR Subscription Service. This will eliminate calling to reserve these trips 1-2 days in advance. These trips are automatically scheduled each week unless they are canceled or put on hold for five days or more. This is a great convenience for trips to work, school, day programs or medical appointments such as dialysis or therapy. If you would like more information and/or to register, please call AAR and press prompt #6 or use MY AAR.

Subscription trips are automatically cancelled on: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day and Good Friday. If you would still like to travel on those days, you must reserve your trip 1 – 2 days in advance.

Is Your Organization Interested in Learning More about AAR?

Did you know that in 2018, AAR representatives performed over 150 community outreaches across the five boroughs of NYC?! Outreach events include presentations, participation in resource fairs and NYCT Bus demos. If your organization has 15 or more people who want to learn more about AAR Paratransit Service, please call AAR and press prompt #8. See you soon!

Access-A-Ride Telephone Directory

Call 877-337-2017 toll free from area codes 212, 929, 646, 718, 347, 516, 631, 914, 845, 917, 332.

From all other area codes, dial 718-393-4999.  Customers who are deaf / hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or the free 711 service relay.

For assistance in English, press "1."  If "1" is not pressed, callers will hear choices in each of the respective languages:
For assistance in: Spanish, press "2"
For assistance in Russian, Chinese, French Creole or Korean, please press "3."
For all other languages, please press "4."   

Conversations with AAR personnel are recorded and may be monitored.

These prompts may be selected after an important announcement is heard:

Prompt #1 - Eligibility Unit:  Appeals / Certification / Application / AAR MetroCard / Update Your Records
Prompt #2 - Trip Planning: Reservations
Prompt #3 - Trip Planning: Change your reservation
Prompt #4 - Trip Planning: Cancel your reservation
Prompt #5 - Travel Services: Help with same day service 24/7
Prompt #6 - Subscription Service
Prompt #7 - Automated System
Prompt #8 - Commendations / Questions / Complaints / Outreach Requests / Publication Requests
To repeat, please press "0."  Hold for assistance if you do not have a touch-tone phone.