In an article that shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, the Daily News reports that disabled people — just like their non-disabled counterparts — love to gamble at casinos, and they use public transportation to get there. According to the tabloid, Access-A-Ride vans and cars don't just shuttle disabled people to doctors' offices, pharmacies, and supermarkets, they also bring handicapped New Yorkers to the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway.
The casino is reportedly the 17th most requested destination for Access-A-Ride users, who can ask for trips anywhere in the city and a short distance into Westchester and Nassau counties. The paper acknowledges that the vast majority of the other top picks are medical facilities, though it calls out other favorites like the Staten Island Mall and Kennedy Airport.
An Access-A-Ride trip cost commuters the same as a normal subway ride, but in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act — which requires mass transit organizations to provide alternate forms of transportation to those who can't travel using buses or trains — the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hires private companies to operate the service at an average per trip rate of $53. Though costly, MTA Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker defended the policy. "The law is clear; we can't prioritize trips and we do not ask what your purpose is," she said. "It's just like the bus and subway. We don't ask where you're going on the bus or subway. It's public transportation."