Watch CBS News

Advocates for disabled send message to Gov. Hochul, MTA: Fix broken elevators at subway stations

Disability advocates call on MTA to fix subway elevators
Disability advocates call on MTA to fix subway elevators 02:02

NEW YORK -- Advocates for the disabled and elected officials are demanding Gov. Kathy Hochul improve crucial subway elevators.

It comes as the MTA held its monthly board meeting on Wednesday.

They chanted, "Elevators are for everyone," but that's not what the group outside the agency's headquarters was saying takes place at more than a dozen subway stations.

"It's an emergency for people like me and Monica that are stuck in the station or outside and it's extremely dangerous," said advocate Sasha Blair-Goldensohn of the Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group.

READ MOREDisabled riders say new LIRR schedules creating new struggles

Nearly 40 disability advocates made their voices heard just before the board meeting, calling on the governor to take action on maintaining and fixing broken elevators.

"We need to feel safe in the elevator. We shouldn't have to worry if the elevator is going to be broken and we get stuck in the elevator," said Dr. Sharon McLennon, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York.

Advocates say there are as many as 30 elevators a day systemwide that are out of commission -- a major inconvenience to their travels.

"Elevator outages make it  more than difficult. It can be impossible. More than once I have gotten off the train at an 'accessible stop,' only to find the elevator is out of service," one demonstrator said.

In addition to investing in elevator maintenance, they're asking for:

  • The MTA to alert riders of breakdowns when they happen
  • Station agents to help customers who need assistance if an elevator is not working and fix them promptly
  • Alternative transportation be provided when elevators aren't functioning

The growing calls for better service were taken upstairs to the board meeting, where almost every person from the public comment portion spoke about the issue, even some fourth and fifth graders.

"There are many disabled people who can't use the stairs. If you couldn't use the stairs, how would you feel? Wouldn't you want change?" a fourth grader said.

MTA officials say they're taking note and drafting ideas to improve accessibility. What that will look like, for now, remains unclear.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.