Access-A-Ride and the MTA

By time I actually get through to a person, ten to fifteen minutes have passed and my total wait time has been over half an hour.

access-a-ride van
access-a-ride van

Access-A-Ride (AAR), is a service available in New York City for people who have disabilities. My lack of possession of even one kidney qualifies me for the service,… not to mention my cardiac problems. If you were to see me on the street, you would probably not perceive anything as wrong, but a little over a year ago, I passed out after getting off the bus after dialysis. The result of passing out was getting a couple of front broken teeth and a number of stitches to my chin. It was after that incident that I decided to try and get AAR.

Since I qualified, it has become a blessing and a nightmare. AAR is not like waiting for a friend to pick you up to take you to doctors’ appointments, but it’s less expensive than a cab ride. At present I have a standard subscription for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to be picked up at 4:29pm (yep, you read it right) to deliver me to my dialysis treatment facility for my 5:30pm appointment. The dialysis center is approximately a half hour away, if traffic is good. The client (that’s me) is to be outside and waiting for the bus (or if you’re lucky the car). Most of the time it is a bus. You are supposed to wait for at least thirty minutes. If the driver doesn’t show, you can call AAR and they will investigate where the driver is, and how long before he/she will arrive. Now you can see, if I wait one half hour to call AAR, and then they tell me (after being on hold for usually 15 minutes) that the driver will be there in another 10 minutes, I am going to be late. Even if the bus were to arrive at the precise moment I’m making the call.

Tapping my foot, I wait, trying to be patient.

I listen to my iPod.

I’ve designed a strategy of calling with AAR before half an hour. By time I actually get through to a person, ten to fifteen minutes have passed and my total wait time has been over half an hour. You see, if the driver is over half an hour late, I can request authorization for car service and get reimbursed. Whereas, AAR costs $2.00, car service is about $15.00. So, they will get me there within the allotted time, but if I get there much later than my scheduled time, the dialysis center will have to cut my time on the machine short, because the center closes at 10:30 pm.
This last wait, however, they gave me a hard time.

me: May I have an authorization code please, since the driver is over a half hour late, and I’m going to be late for my scheduled appointment?

AAR: Just a moment.
3 minutes pass

AAR: My supervisor says that since the driver will be there in 7 minutes, she will not give you an authorization code.

me: Are you kidding? May I have your name, and your supervisor’s name?

AAR: Just a moment.
5 minutes pass

AAR: Do you want to call back for the authorization or do you want it now?

me: I want it now!

Mayor of NYC, Bloomberg

Meanwhile. Thanks mayor Mike for looking out for all the citizens.

Mayor of NYC, Bloomberg