Power Grid Blog
The need for wheelchair-accessible taxi cabs in Atlanta
January 15, 2014 | AAPD
AAPD submitted the following letter to Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA on the need for wheelchair-accessible taxi cabs. We encourage Atlantans to weigh-in with the Mayor on this important issue by calling the Mayor's office at 404.330.6100.
Letter to Mayor Kasim Reed
Dear Mayor Reed,
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is the nation's largest disability rights organization. AAPD promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. Members of AAPD hail from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
Atlanta is one of the largest economic hubs in the nation and attracts people from all over the world. The taxicab industry, though private, has become a public mode of transportation and in many major metropolitan areas is the only mode of transportation available. For instance, inaccessible cabs prevent people with disabilities from spending their money in the Atlanta metropolitan area and make it harder for workers with disabilities to get to work appointments. Further, the demand for accessible taxis will only continue to rise as baby boomers age and more people with functional impairments need transportation.
Providing accessible taxi cabs can be less expensive than funding for public transportation and emergency vehicle transportation. For instance, New York City spent over $500 million on alternative segregated transportation, and the New York State Department of Social Services and the Health Department spent over $200 million on using private emergency vehicles to take wheelchair users to the doctor.
Other cities have taken action in response to real demand for accessible transportation. Just recently, New York City announced a new requirement for 50 percent of its yellow cabs to be accessible by the year 2020 as part of a major class-action settlement. The city was charged with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the lack of accessible taxicabs and similar suits could be brought around the country.
We applaud your partnership with the Atlantan disability community, particularly on the development of the Atlanta Checker Cab. However, it is time for Atlanta to increase its commitment by deploying these accessible cabs and join other major cities by increasing accessible taxi services such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Portland, and New York City. We look forward to seeing how Atlanta can become more accessible for all of its residents and visitors.
President and CEO
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)