What Is Access-A-Ride?

Access-a-Ride is a transportation service that the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority offers to disabled or elderly individuals who are unable to use the city buses or subways. Access-a-Ride offers these services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year within New York City and up to 3 1/4 miles to nearby areas of neighboring counties at the same cost as public transit.

The MTA contracts with private companies who provide service in various types of vehicles, such as lift-equipped vans or sedans. Users who require an aide can bring one personal care attendant free of charge. Guests can accompany the traveler and pay the same fare. Access-a-Ride service is also available for visitors to New York who use similar services in their own communities.

Users of this service must apply with the MTA and receive assignment to one of four categories -- full, continual, temporary or conditional. People with a temporary designation must reapply after five years. People with full access are exempt from having to reapply. People with conditional designations can use the service under certain weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, or if the subway station they normally use is not accessible for them.