Brooklyn Cancer Survivor Takes On The MTA Over Stripped Access-A-Ride Service

Transit Agency Says Iris Marcus Is Not Eligible, But She Adamantly Disagrees

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn cancer survivor with bad feet and a degenerative back is locked in a battle with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over its Access-A-Ride program.

The program is designed to provide transportation for the disabled, but Iris Marcus told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey that she can’t get a ride.

For five years Marcus had been approved for conditional Access-A-Ride service, meaning that she would take a bus or subway to meet her ride. But Marcus was getting door-to-door service instead.

Following an MTA crackdown Marcus said she lost her door-to-door service.

She applied for full service and even submitted letters from doctors that outlined her physical limitations and her inability to take public transportation.

However, following an assessment by the MTA, which included an agility test, it was determined that Marcus was “functionally capable of using regular public transportation.”

Marcus disagreed with the MTA’s findings.

“The findings are wrong. It just doesn’t make sense,” she told Hennessey on Monday night. “I can walk a few feet but that doesn’t mean I can ride a bus or climb stairs. I cannot.”

Brooklyn Assemblyman Bill Colton has taken notice. Last week he sent a letter to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General saying that “New York City Transit has further handicapped her ability to fight for her life.”

Marcus said she’s noticeably frustrated by the policy.

“It’s very frustrating. Here’s the evidence, here’s what the doctors say, oh no it doesn’t matter.”

Marcus said that as long as she is unable to take the bus or subway to meet her ride, she will remain a prisoner in her own home.

Should Marcus be allowed to use the full door-to-door service? Let us know in our comments section below…

  • Paul S. Lipton

    The MTA is cutting Access-A-Ride on a case by case basis, hoping that they can quietly gut this sorely needed service. People with disabilities must organize to fight for their transportation rights. Kudos to Assemblyman Colton for his strong support and to CBS for the needed publicity. A public airing of this travesty will stop this misguided MTA plan.

  • Ava Sterling

    These absolutely can not be all the facts. I had a sprained ankle and I got full access a ride within one week and had it for six months. Something is really wrong with this article and report. Do you ever do factchecking with the MTA?

  • Bob

    According to the NY Post, Iris is a 69 yr. old retired schoolteacher – teacher pension + social security. Her husband can’t “re-arrange his schedule” to take her to the doctor (maybe because he’s still working?) Tell her to call a cab. She can afford it.

  • Johnny Reality

    Access A Ride costs millions of dollars and is the biggest money loser that was ever created. It’s ok to say one should have door to door service but another to support the process by paying higher taxes. You agree that she should have door to door service, why, do you have supernatural insight. I don’t know whether she deserves service or not but I do know that “I don’t know” because I don’t have all the facts. Should the MTA have a better vetting system, possibly.

    • J Kaufmann


      Not only is your screed in all caps, which is vulgar but you have the nerve to insult not only the writer, but his parents as well. This should be investigated as a death threat, given your lack of understanding.

    • J Kaufmann

      As someone whose wife uses Access-a-Ride daily due to Cerebral Palsy, I think that if she is evaluated by an independent source (not her doctor or Access-a-Ride agent) the outcome should indicate whether or not she is able to take a bus or subway to her ride. Not knowing the entire story< I feel unable to comment further, although I do feel for her as I have seen deserving passengers denied, and passengers who can use mass transit allowed for one reason or another. MTA seems to stand for Much Too Arbitrary.

  • Nita

    Of cause she should get door to door.

  • Wolfman

    she should be allowed to take advantage of the door to door service. Acess-a-ride is clearly intended as a service for people for whom use of mass transit is dificult.It is ridiculous that there is a even a concept of “conditional access-a ride” which requires use of mass transit.

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