Activists for accessible transportation gathered outside of
MTA headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday, demanding accessible public
transportation for all.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were
approximately 930,000 people living with disabilities in New York City in 2017,
making up 11% of the population.
As of Sept 21, 2021, only 28% of NYC’s subway stations are
accessible, the lowest percentage out of all the major transit systems in the
world. The city does rank the highest in wheelchair-friendly taxis.
Marc Safman, who was declared legally blind and deaf in
2017, says he relies on public transportation. He says he uses a text-to-talk
app to navigate the city.
“My little app only works when there’s Wi-Fi” said Safman.
“When I’m in tunnels, it’s a no-go zone.”
He says the MTA has promised accessibility for too long
without taking enough action. Safman wants to see more action, not just with
elevators at stations, but with signs and Braille writing that can make subway
platforms easier to navigate.
“For some reason the MTA and politicians only think if you
are disabled you just wanna go to a doctor… they don't want to take the time to
realize that we have challenges that can easily be overcome with technology,”
While activists voiced their concerns outside MTA
headquarters, Access-A-Ride customers and disability advocates testified at an
MTA board meeting, demanding improvements to the paratransit system.
We reached out to the MTA for a
statement regarding today’s rally outside its headquarters and are awaiting