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Access Link Town Hall Meeting Summary

Below you will find a summary for our Access Link Town Hall Meeting held on Zoom on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Special thanks to Michele Stiehler, Acting General Manager , Access Link and to her wonderful, caring. and knowledgeable staff:

  • Adam Katz
  • Robert Rios
  • Hugo Perez
  • Ronda Williams
  • Kris Tucker
  • Althea Branch

Together these individuals represent over 120 years of combined expertise in working with New Jersey Transit and Access Link in increasing roles of responsibility. Also, thanks to our participants (approximately 60) , Annemarie Cooke, NFBNJ Access Link Committee Member and Phil Harrison, Chair, NJ Transit Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for making this a unique and positive discussion on how to work collaboratively to ensure consumers and providers needs are met.

A special shout out of thanks to Linda Melendez, President, NFBNJ for hosting and moderating the meeting.

Summary:

Michele Stiehler, Acting General Manager , Access Link provided slides and contact information (to be sent out) about the origin and key objectives of Access Link. Her staff focused on their areas of expertise which included:

  • Ridership Customer Service
  • Liaison with Providers (i.e., contractors who provide ride share services to New Jersey’s five regions)
  • Reservations
    • Scheduling and Analysis
  • Eligibility
  • Public Outreach
  • Analytics (Ridership forecasting, field surveillance, capital improvements, safety and more)
  • Contractor compliance

Access Link’s goal is to provide safe, efficient, and responsive ride share services to people with disabilities in the state of New Jersey. Our feedback is enormously valuable to them and as emphasized by President Melendez we need to be responsible clients and manage our expectations so we can continue a collaborative relationship. She also commented that Access Link will be invited to share at our 45th State Convention in 2021 and at that time they will be able to meet us in person.

Annemarie Cooke provided Michele Stiehler with a list of Access Link Committee Feedback and Questions prior to the meeting and Michele graciously addressed each concern. Phil Harrison, newly elected Chair of the NJ Transit CAC emphasized a key concern of riders is to get to their destination on time and the need for guidance from their reservationist to help with this.

The meeting was informative, many NFBNJ members had the opportunity to ask questions and a recording of the forum was made and is posted on the www.nfbnj.org website.

President Melendez thanked Michele and her staff for meeting with us at this late hour of the day (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and the valuable information they shared. Michele and staff encouraged NFBNJ members to call them if they have any questions or concerns.

Summary respectfully provided by Ellen Sullivan, Affiliate Secretary and reviewed by Linda Melendez, President, National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey

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