Union Advocates Better Transportation Services for People with Disabilities

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From left, City Council member Andrew Cohen, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Donna Fredericksen, MTA PARA Transit Division Outreach and Public Information, ADA Coordinator Quemuel Arroyo of the Dept. of Transportation, and Eileen Muller, chair of the DC 37 Disability Advisory/Health Committee and Brooklyn Library Guild Local 1482 president. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera.

By MIKE LEE

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido joined advocates for the disabled, union activists, city officials and MTA representatives to discuss the need to improve the Access-A-Ride service at a forum held in union headquarters on April 3.

After initial remarks by DC 37 Disability Advisory/Health Committee Chair Eileen Muller, who is also president of Local 1482 Brooklyn Library Guild, Garrido spoke of the importance of the Access-A-Ride service, which handles as many as 23,000 trips daily. The Access-A-Ride paratransit service provides shared-ride transportation service for people with disabilities unable to use public transportation for their trips.y.

Garrido warned the audience of the attack on safety net services in the proposed Trump/Republican congress budget, including potential cuts in federal grants for services such as Access-A-Ride.

“Everything we hold dear is at stake right now,” Garrido said. “We should take time to think about how to fightback and to preserve these hard-earned benefits that we have had for years.”

After presentations by city officials, including City Council member Andrew Cohen, chair of the committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substances and Disability Services, members spoke out at the forum regarding negative experiences with Access-A-Ride, and volunteered valuable suggestions to improve this vital service. They complained that drivers are not always courteous and Access-A-Ride vans too often arrive late.

The MTA provides the service, and oversees private carriers contracted to do the service. Access-A-Ride is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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