Map Shows How Inaccessible City Subways Are



The NYC Subway system has 468 stops. Less than 100 of those stops are accessible to people with physical disabilities.

According to the MTA website, in 2014 daily ridership on the subway was about 5.6 million. This number has only increased since then. Of those 5.6 million riders, about a million of them are disabled. They are in wheelchairs, walkers, or canes and are unable to use the stairs.

Matthew Ahn, a 24 year old lawyer, created a map on which the accessible stations are highlighted and non-accessible stations are removed. There is an obvious discrepancy between the amount of accessible and non accessible stations. For example, there are eighteen stations between 34th and 66th streets in Manhattan that are accessible which is more stations than in all of Queens and all of the Bronx. Disabled passengers traveling to the outer boroughs are going to have a hard time.

The MTA often encourages disabled passengers to use the bus system instead but as Ahn says on his blog, “The bus system is set up more to complement the subway system than to handle standard commuting patterns, and it is generally neighborhood-based and might require multiple transfers to ride between boroughs.” The bus system might not provide the same level of reliability that the subway system will. Although the city has Access-a-ride buses, they have a history of showing up late and unreliability.

At the Hunts Point station in the Bronx, 51 year old Nancy, who is in wheelchair, waits for the Manhattan bound 6 train at 8:30 a.m. “I leave my house at 7:00 a.m to take the train now” she says. Nancy lives near the Pelham Bay Park station, which is currently undergoing construction so it’s not wheelchair accessible. Nancy has to make her way to the Bx5 bus stop to take it to Hunts Point. “It’s hard for me and it’s ridiculous that so few stops in the Bronx are accessible to people with physical disabilities.” Nancy thinks the city should focus more on making more stations wheelchair accessible than installing Wi-Fi underground.

The MTA is not completely at fault for the lack of accessibility city wide. They suffered a series of budget cuts, thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo. According to StreetsBlog, Cuomo said that MTA budget was “bloated” and he cut state contribution to the budget.

More needs to be done to make the city more accessible. The state needs to grant the MTA more money for their budget and the MTA needs to make it a priority to improve the accessibility of all subway stations. Until then, people like Nancy will have to rely on buses to take them to other train stations.

About Derek B