From the Daily News:
Next stop for the cash-strapped NYC Transit: the casino.
The agency's budget-busting Access-A-Ride van and car service doesn't just take disabled passengers to the doctor's office, pharmacy or local supermarket.
Access-A-Ride regularly takes passengers from their door to the Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway to play the ponies or the 5,300 slot machines, the Daily News has learned.
The casino and raceway is a popular location. It ranks 17th among the 30 most-requested destinations for Access-A-Ride users. The vast majority are medical facilities, but the list also includes the Staten Island Mall and Kennedy Airport.
Access-A-Ride ridership and costs have been skyrocketing for years, and transit officials are looking to streamline operations to help close an MTA-wide budget gap of nearly $400 million dollars.
Still, NYC Transit can't simply refuse to provide trips requested by registered users, spokesman Deirdre Parker said.
"The law is clear; we can't prioritize trips and we do not ask what your purpose is," Parker said. "It's just like the bus and subway. We don't ask where you're going on the bus or subway. It's public transportation."
Approximately 50% of trips are medical-related, Parker said. About 20% are social. The rest fall into four categories: shopping/errands; school; work, or "other."