February 16, 2022

Jenner & Block is helping five individuals with disabilities who use New York City paratransit services file a class action lawsuit to end discrimination that excludes them from transit fare discounts.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Transit Authority (together, the MTA) offer substantial fare discounts, including half fares for people with disabilities and seniors, as well as 30-day and seven-day unlimited fares, for bus and subway riders, but not for users of the Access-A-Ride paratransit system, whose disabilities prevent them from riding buses and subways.

The lawsuit, filed on February 15, 2022, in New York Supreme Court seeks to compel the MTA to offer the same discounts to Access-A-Ride users as are available to subway and bus riders. The case also seeks to reimburse AAR riders for the financial harm they suffered due to the unavailability of these fare discounts.

“It’s not fair that the MTA offers these discounts to subway and bus riders and not to Access-A-Ride users. We rely on the MTA to get us around just the same as other mass transit riders, and we shouldn’t be paying more,” said plaintiff Sheila Murray. “The MTA needs to end this discrimination against Access-A-Ride users immediately.”

Access-A-Ride is the MTA’s paratransit service for people with disabilities who cannot use, or are substantially limited in their ability to use, subways or buses. The MTA is legally required to provide this public transit service, which must be comparable to what is available to subway and bus riders. But AAR has long been plagued by unreliable and inflexible service. Nevertheless, AAR riders must pay the full fare of $2.75 for every trip, no matter how many trips they take per month and no matter whether they would qualify for a reduced fare because of their disability or age.

Jenner & Block Partner Marc B. Hankin, Associates Corey E. Schoellkopf and Anna M. Windemuth, and Staff Attorney Ehsan M. Khah represent the plaintiffs as pro bono counsel, along with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Mobilization for Justice.

“We are delighted to work closely with the top-notch and committed lawyers at NYLPI’s Disability Justice Program and Mobilization for Justice’s Disability and Aging Rights Program to help vindicate the legal rights of New Yorkers with disabilities,” Mr. Hankin said.

For access to the complaint, click here. Read New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s press release here.

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