The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is among the defendants in a proposed class action filed over the alleged inaccessibility of New York City’s subway system to people with disabilities.
According to the lawsuit, which also names as defendants MTA’s CEO, the New York City Transit Authority, its president, and the City of New York, less than 25 percent of the city’s subway system is accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities, a statistic the case points out is the lowest rate of any subway system in the country.
Citing reports from the city’s Comptroller and the New York Times, the lawsuit notes that more than half the neighborhoods served by the subway lack an accessible station, and nearly two-thirds of the city’s residents with mobility disabilities “live far from an accessible station.” The case claims this lack of accessibility entirely excludes many travelers with disabilities from using the subway, which the suit calls a “lifeline” connecting residents and visitors to all aspects of city life.
“This dire situation continues,” the complaint states, “because for the past several decades, and in contradiction to the [Americans with Disabilities Act’s] mandate, the MTA has consistently engaged in major renovation projects to improve station usability for nondisabled riders—spending millions of dollars and closing stations for months to conduct the work—while systematically failing to install elevators or other stair-free routes.”
The lawsuit argues that the defendants are legally obligated to provide accessible routes wherever technically feasible and regardless of cost when performing renovations that alter a station’s accessibility. Despite these obligations, the defendants, the case says, have renovated “dozens of stations” without adding elevators or stair-free access.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed by three individual plaintiffs and five advocacy groups, the defendants’ failures have made life for individuals with mobility disabilities “significantly more difficult than it should be.”
This suit is one of severallawsuits that have been filed within the past year over the MTA’s alleged failures to make New York’s transportation routes accessible.