NYC to Challenge Taxi Accessibility Order

Monday, February 27, 2012

The wheelchair accessible taxi. A wheelchair-accessible cab in New York City. (Kate Hinds/WNYC)

City lawyers are heading to court Tuesday seeking an appeal of a judge's order that the Taxi and Limousine Commission must submit a long term-plan for wheelchair accessibility.

The TLC believes the order could hold up the Bloomberg administration's five borough taxi plan — and the revenue it would generate.

In December, a lower court ruled that the city must submit a comprehensive plan for how it will better serve the disabled. Attorneys with the city argue the TLC is already working on providing “meaningful access” to people in wheelchairs by moving forward with its accessible dispatch plan. The judge's orders, they say, are unfeasible because they conflict with state legislation. It would also block the city from moving forward with the scheduled auction of 2,000 accessible taxi medallions and 1,800 livery permits, with 20 percent set aside as accessible. The city has already factored the estimated $1 billion in revenue from the sale into next year's budget.

The city believes that the court overreached, misinterpreting the Americans with Disabilities act, which exempts taxicabs from having to be wheelchair accessible.

Separately, the taxi bill agreement reached in December currently requires the TLC to submit a Disabled Accessibility Plan to the state Department of Transportation for approval within a year.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs contend that complying with the judge's order wouldn't compromise the medallion auction. They say until New Yorkers with disabilities can hail a taxi — their civil rights are being violated.

Only 231 accessible cabs out of more than 13,000 yellow taxis can accommodate people in wheelchairs.


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Comments [1]

Alex Reiger from NYC

This whole plan/idea is DOOMED to fail. These politicians are not businessmen NOR do they understand the industry. The entire plan is based on wishful thinking and ignoring all the true facts of the past. Let’s look at the harsh reality….

1. The TLC can’t even protect the Yellow Medallions prized areas from poaching (South of 96th Street, the Airports and major transit hubs)….how are they planning on protecting the poor drivers who buy Outer Boro Street Hail permits?!?!?! They would need an Army.

2. In an economy, where drivers are making barely enough to survive, they City now wants them to buck up upwards $10K to make their cars Hail permissible?!?!?! That’s not even factoring in the additional costs of getting an entirely new vehicle which is capable of being wheel chair accessible and the equipment as well.

3. How did Access-A-Ride do? A major failure. Hey, but that’s only proven history.

4. Anybody notice that due to the economy, Street Hails are shrinking? Who has the money?

5. Wasn’t this all about generating needed revenue for the City? I believe if you peel back this Onion, that was the original rally cry. Well is seems to me that this is going to cost a whole lot of money to launch an run…
A)$15K grants for drivers to comply with the handicap accessibility.
B) Added hiring of TLC officers to enforce the laws…which will still be far, far too little.
C) Added cost to TLC infrastructure to facilitate this whole under taking.

So at the end of the day, taking into account the economy-which affects the drivers and the potential customers, the ability of the drivers to afford the upgrade and associated costs and the true costs of implementing this plan based on wishful thinking, what the hell are we doing here?

Here are the true facts:
The amount of people needing a street hail in the outer boros pales in comparison to the number of livery drivers this is going to affect.
Probably more handicapped people than Outer boro hails on a regular basis yet they’ve proven that they can’t even get that right (Access-A-Ride)
How much is the City really going to be profiting when you subtract the real costs of this plan.

Over what? A handful of people who want to hail a cab in the outer boros? Funny, it hasn’t been a major issue in any past Mayor’s campaign.

Mar. 19 2012 11:13 AM

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