January 4, 2010

Mr. Jay Walder
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transit Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Mr. Walder:

I am writing to urge you and the MTA board to forgo cuts to the Access-A-Ride program.  As you know, Access-A-Ride is a vital service to so many New Yorkers and is particularly important to people with a disability. 

This service provides people with a disability access to much needed transportation to and from doctor visits and is a major mode of travel for many of Lighthouse International’s clients.  An Access-A-Ride van outside our door, picking up or dropping passengers, is a common and continuous sight.  The compassionate assistance that many drivers provide when helping a person with visual impairment navigate from inside our building to the awaiting van is both genuine, and much appreciated.  Any alteration that will reduce services and increase fares will have a devastating impact on the health and well being of Access-A-Ride users and must be reconsidered. 

Admittedly times are extremely tough and the need for cost savings has left every organization searching for ways to increase efficiency and reduce non-essential services.  But surely we can agree that cutting services and increasing fares for people with a disability will have a detrimental effect on the independence and health of Access-A-Ride users, and exponentially increase long term costs to the public. 

We welcome the opportunity to work with your organization to improve the efficiency of the Access-A-Ride program, but strongly urge you and the board to reconsider this plan. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Mark Ackermann
President and CEO 



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