AAPD applauds New York City decision to make 50 percent of taxi fleet accessible to people with disabilities

Washington, DC (December 6, 2013) – Today, the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) announced a new requirement for 50 percent of New York City yellow cabs to be accessible by the year 2020. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, applauds this major milestone and congratulates the United Spinal Association for reaching this settlement.

The agreement comes as a result of a major class-action lawsuit brought by the United Spinal Association, as well as other disability groups, against the TLC. The city was charged with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the lack of accessible taxicabs.

“People with disabilities need to be able to hail cabs from the street when we are running late for meetings, when we decide to see a show or when we need to rush a family member to the hospital,” said Mark Perriello, President and CEO of AAPD. “We congratulate United Spinal Association on this important victory and hope that this agreement will be a stepping stone to make 100 percent of taxicabs accessible for not only New York City but for all major metropolitan areas across the country.”

The settlement requires that half of all new medallion taxis in the city be made wheelchair accessible until 50 percent of the entire feet is accessible. The rule will go into effect before the end of the year and TLC will begin servicing the new wheelchair accessible cabs within two years. Currently, only a small fraction of over 13,000 cabs are accessible in New York City. Many other successful accessible taxi services operate in other major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas, and Portland.

Before this decision, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) spent over 500 million dollars per year on alternative segregated transportation for people with disabilities, and the New York State Department of Social Services and the Health Department spent over 200 million dollars per year on using private emergency vehicles to take wheelchair users to the doctor. This solution will reduce costs for the city and give people with disabilities greater access to transportation at a lower cost.

Building on this important decision, AAPD calls for 100 percent of taxicabs to be wheelchair accessible. AAPD has previously called for 100 percent of taxicabs to be accessible in Washington, DC after disturbing reports showed people with disabilities being stranded from cabs.

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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

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