MTA NYC To Offer Free Access to Aira

October 16th, 2019

Facing a crowd of journalists and members of the press in a subway station, Andy Byford, CEO of New York City Transit Authority, and Alex Elegudin, Chief of Systemwide Accessibility, share how MTA is piloting several accessibility upgrades throughout their system, including free access to Aira. Behind them is a passing subway train.

Providing Enhanced Accessibility to the Largest Group of Blind and Low-Vision Travelers in the US


New York, October 16, 2019 – The NY MTA launched a three-month pilot today for Aira services at an opening ceremony held at the Jay Street-MetroTech accessibility model station. Aira can now be used for free at all 496 subway stations, as well as a phased rollout of free Aira Access for all 13K bus routes.

How it Works

Aira, powered by AT&T, combines mobile technology, artificial intelligence, and real-time human interaction to provide visual information to people who are blind or have low vision. Using a smartphone – or a pair of Aira’s proprietary Horizon Smart Glasses – an Aira user connects to a remote professional agent, who can see the user’s surroundings through their device’s camera. This, coupled with the AI-powered Remote Presence Dashboard, enables agents to provide real-time audio descriptions as well as GPS location, maps, rideshare and photo-sharing capabilities, and more.

In locations where Aira Access is enabled, users can connect to Aira free of charge. MTA travelers new to Aira can download the free app from the Apple App and Google Play stores. With just the touch of a button, anyone using the Aira app can connect with an agent to navigate the MTA system at all subway stations and bus routes.

“Aira is passionate about transforming daily life for people who are blind or have low vision. We believe that better mobility leads to a better economy, which impacts everyone positively,” said Suman Kanuganti, Founder and President of Aira. “We are proud to partner with NYC MTA, one of the largest transit authorities in the world. Together, we will increase accessibility on public transit for communities in NYC while setting an example for others to follow. Today NYC, tomorrow the world.”

Enhancing the Travel Experience

The MTA is committed to enhancing accessibility throughout its system. Providing free access to Aira on any New York City Subway or Bus will enable more customers to use the system as independently as possible.

“Aira has been a great partner, and wayfinding solutions like theirs are an integral part of what the accessible station of the future could look like,” said Alex Elegudin, NYCT Senior Advisor for Systemwide Accessibility. “Having access to a live agent who can see your location and guide you through the transit system is empowering to many, and Aira is making an important contribution to blind and low-vision riders with this technology.”

Getting the Word Out

The MTA and Aira will use targeted marketing to educate the public about Aira Access, as well as engaging the community with local blind and low vision advocate groups.

MTA customers interested in using Aira while in the MTA system should visit to download the free Aira app and find more information.

About Aira

Aira Tech Corp is a technology company dedicated to making lives simpler, easier, and more fun. Based in San Diego, California, we use the latest technologies to connect people who are blind or have low vision with real, highly-trained professionals who provide visual information on demand. To learn more about Aira, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit our website at