Class Members For the New York Subway Accessibility Lawsuit Has Been Approved
A judge has certified more than 500,000 individuals to be included as class members in the New York Subway Accessibility Lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in April 2017.
The lawsuit asserts that New York City’s subway systems are inaccessible for disabled individuals, thereby breaching the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The lawsuit adds that among the 472 subway lines in New York, only less than 25% are accessible for disabled individuals.
The lawsuit was filed by the following organizations advocating for the rights of disabled citizens:
- Bronx Independent Living Services
- Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled
- The CIDNY
- Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York
- Harlem Independent Living Center
- New York Statewide Senior Action Council
In February 2021, a State Supreme Court Judge has made a ruling which certifies that 500,000 disabled individuals qualify as class members of the lawsuit.
New York Subway Accessibility Issue
The lawsuit against MTA argues that individuals with mobility-related disabilities cannot use the New York subways freely because their conditions were not considered when the subways were designed.
According to the plaintiffs, the subway’s lack of elevators and ramps makes it hard for regular individuals who carry luggage and other oversized items to use the system.
This inconvenience makes the subways harder and even more inaccessible to people with mobility-related disabilities.
The lawsuit also claims that only 20% of the New York subway systems have elevators. Most of the subways only have stairways that prevent disabled persons from using them as a convenient transportation mode.
The lawsuit alleges that the subways are a vital part of living and traveling in New York and that they should be freely and equally available for all the citizens.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The lawsuit declares that one of the laws violated by the MTA is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to ADA, all citizens should have equal access and rights to services, regardless of their disabilities.
The lawsuit complains that the MTA has defied this act by not implementing services that will cater to mobility-related disabled individuals.
The lawsuit states that renovations should be conducted to the New York subway systems to meet all its users’ needs.
New York City Human Rights Law
The lawsuit also argues that the MTA has even breached the New York City Human Rights law.
The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) protects its citizens from any form of discrimination, including disability.
According to the NYCHRL, public transportation systems should be equally available to all citizens, even those with mobility disabilities.
Previously, the MTA argued that the state laws do not cover them because the train systems were built decades ago.
However, a panel of judges ruled in June 2019 that the MTA is still under the NYCHRL.
MTA has not recently responded to the allegations made against them.
The company has recently hired a Chief of Accessibility Officer, Quemuel Arroyo, to drive its efforts to make its subway lines more accessible.
Editor’s Note on MTA New York ADA Class Action Lawsuit’s Updates:
This article is published to inform you of the latest update on the MTA accessibility lawsuit.
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