MTA’s Access-A-Ride soars in 2023

March 1, 2024
During 2023, the paratransit service had increased ridership, highs in customer satisfaction, improved on time performance and fewer no shows on both primary and broker trips.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Access-A-Ride paratransit service had a record-breaking year in 2023, with increased ridership, highs in customer satisfaction, improved on time performance and fewer no shows on both primary and broker trips. 

“Access-A-Ride customers have been asking for faster, more reliable trips that are easy to book and that’s exactly what they got in 2023,” said MTA New York City (NYC) Transit President Richard Davey. “The Access-A-Ride team has kept up the momentum, listened and worked hard to enhance the entire customer experience and customers have responded with surging satisfaction levels in our monthly surveys. Customers can look forward to further enhancements to paratransit service in the year ahead.” 

“The ability to use mass transit is something that every New Yorker and every visitor to New York deserves and I am so proud to show off the amazing progress the MTA paratransit team made in 2023,” said MTA NYC Transit Paratransit Vice President Chris Pangilinan. “We have created a more customer friendly experience by improving on-time performance, reducing vendor no-shows and reducing phone wait times, all while keeping the per-trip costs of a ride flat. 

The agency abandoned the industry standard of a 30-minute on time window and adopted the more customer friendly 20 minutes. Even with the smaller window, on-time performance consistently exceeded 90 percent in 2023. 

MTA notes customer satisfaction hit a record high of 79 percent in January 2024, as ridership grew 12.4 percent compared to January 2023, with most days above pre-COVID levels. Provider no-show rates were down by 20.4 percent on primary carrier trips and 77.3 percent on broker trips. 

Booking paratransit trips was also faster and easier in 2023, with call talk times down 22 percent from more than six minutes to under five, making it much easier to get a trip reservation. 

Between July 2023 and January 2024, MTA paratransit cut its call answer times from 50 seconds down to 15. 

In October 2023, 20 new Ford E-450 vans joined the Access-A-Ride fleet, including one van testing a new wheelchair securement system, which includes an improved yellow visual design to quickly and safely strap in wheelchairs, another step towards modernizing the system and making it more customer friendly. 

In 2024, MTA paratransit aims to keep the positive momentum from 2023 going by: 

  • Achieving and maintaining 94 percent on time performance with a 20-minute window. 
  • Exceeding a 95 percent rate of booking calls answered within 60 seconds. 
  • Expanding the E-Hail Pilot to Phase 3. 
  • MyAAR and web booking usage to 25 percent of all reservations. 
  • Implementing a new Paratransit Scheduling Engine to speed up the booking process. 
  • Opening a Manhattan assessment center. 
  • Initiating new model broker contract. 
  • Revamping the Taxi Authorization program.