NYLPI’s Eman Rimawi-Doster Shared Public Comments at the MTA Board Meeting: “I Need All of the Parts of AAR to Work for Me and They Don’t”

February 1, 2024

Access-A-Ride, Access-a-Ride Reform Group, Disability Justice, Health Justice, MTA, News

Eman Rimawi-Doster standing at the podium in front of the MTA Board, providing public comments during the MTA board meeting

Senior Community Organizer Eman Rimawi-Doster, Disability Justice at NYLPI, shared public comments at the latest MTA board meeting, stressing the importance of opening up on-demand to everyone who uses Access-A-Ride and the critical issues with Phase II.

“Good morning. My name is Eman Rimawi-Doster and I am the Senior Community Organizer for the Disability Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Phase II of the on-demand service has been a useful service, but it isn’t at all what it was under Phase I because of the rationing of services, which forces me to use traditional Access-A-Ride (AAR.) Not only does that limit my flexibility, but it makes being a professional with disabilities feel like the city doesn’t care that I have many things going on that I need to do. You know, about a month ago, I had a medical emergency and I felt very grateful to have access to on-demand, but that cut into 2 of my rides, which I was saving for work, meetings or social gatherings.

I keep hearing that the service will be improved and that people will be able to use it in ways that work for our lives, but I don’t feel that. Yes, I use AAR about 60-75 times a month, which is a lot, but what is the service for, if not to use it? I’ll never be able to use the train. Never. Therefore, I need all of the parts of AAR to work for me, and they don’t.

You know, when I think about the mental gymnastics I have to do to map out my month of on-demand and traditional scheduling, I’m reminded of a City Hall hearing in ’22, where the disability, transportation and mental health committee got together to talk about AAR. And I talked about the awful effects dealing with AAR had on the mental health of its customers. I know we don’t ever, as a society, focus on the mental health of folks with disabilities and the wild things we need to do to function in the world. AAR depresses me. It gives me anxiety. It makes me not want to go out. Why would you want customers to not use a service of yours? 

Oh, and the link to take the on-demand survey isn’t working, so I can’t take that survey.” – Eman Rimawi-Doster

Read more about Access-A-Ride-Reform Group (AARRG!) and the latest Disability Justice news here.

 

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