In December 2011, a federal court ruled that the City, through its Taxi and Limousine Commission, was in violation of the ADA. The City’s proposal for a separate dispatch system for passengers using wheelchairs fails to address the underlying problem — there are not enough wheelchair accessible taxis in New York City. Only 231 of the City’s 13,000 yellow cabs, less than 2 percent, are wheelchair accessible.
“Denying access to the yellow cab system and creating a separate system for them would be described as “Jim Crow” were it done to blacks. In fact, no one would tolerate this denial of civil rights if it was directed at any other minority group,” Weisman stated.
In April 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg rolled out New York City’s new “Taxi of Tomorrow”–Nissan’s NV200. Despite all the bells and whistles touted by the City, accessibility is not one of the key features of this cab.
United Spinal Association, NSCIA, and other disability advocates believe this is a slap in the face, not only to all New Yorkers who use wheelchairs, but the entire disability community. It is an insult to all of us and the court decision that required meaningful access we had fought hard to secure. Without a fully accessible taxi fleet, people with disabilities will continue to be restricted access to the Big Apple and all it has to offer.