Access-A-Ride bill vetoed

Queens Access-A-Ride customers who hoped that legislation would allow vehicles to take them over the Queens/Nassau are out of luck as Governor Eliot Spitzer vetoed a bill that passed unanimously in both houses of the legislature.
The bill, which Senator Frank Padavan and Assemblymember Mark Weprin sponsored in their respective houses, would have allowed Access-A-Ride drivers to travel five miles over the Queens/Nassau border instead of passengers having to switch to Long Island’s Able-Ride vehicles.
“I am deeply disappointed by Governor Spitzer’s veto of this important piece of legislation that would have greatly improve the lives of seniors and disabled residents with much more convenient and efficient bus service between the Queens and Nassau border,” Padavan said.
Spitzer vetoed the bill because it would establish a new category of eligible paratransit riders for these trips, which he says violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as only benefit a small population of riders not taking into account other areas where this type of service could be used, according to his veto message.
However, Padavan said that Spitzer’s reasons were somewhat difficult to understand and hard to accept. He said that all options about how to proceed from here were on the table, including altering some of the language in the bill, and he did not rule out a potential override of the veto.
In addition, Weprin said that some Access-A-Ride customers are considering legal options, saying that since there are city buses that travel from Queens to Long Island, it may not be reasonable to expect customers to get off an Access-A-Ride vehicle and wait for an Able-Ride one to complete their trip.
Many Queens seniors utilize the Access-A-Ride and Able-Ride service to get to doctors’ offices in Nassau County, and the bill would have allowed vehicles to cross the county line and travel five miles over the border.
“Despite this setback today I remain committed to see that our seniors and disabled residents have access to safe public transportation that meets their needs,” Padavan said.

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