Historic Rule Passed; NYC Taxicab Accessibility to Dramatically Increase

Posted May 8, 2014

From 1 in 57 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs to 1 in 2 by 2020

NEW YORK, NY The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission approved today a measure to phase in accessible yellow taxicabs so that by 2020, fifty percent (50%) of New York’s yellow taxis will be accessible to men, women, and children who use wheelchairs.

These rules are the first of their kind in the country and will make New York’s yellow taxi fleet the most accessible in the nation and one of the most disability-friendly in the world.

The rules came out of the settlement of a class action lawsuit filed in 2011 by the nonprofit legal center Disability Rights Advocated on behalf of a coalition of people with disabilities, including Taxis for All Campaign, United Spinal Association, 504 Democratic Club, and Disabled in Action. The disability groups were also represented by Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, both in Manhattan.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission held a hearing today on the regulations. The hearing room was standing room only as advocates for accessible taxicabs attended in droves to show their support. Many cheered, hugged, and cried as the Commissioners voted to approve the regulation.

“This is a historic victory affirming the civil rights of New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Julia Pinover of Disability Rights Advocates. “The rule that was passed today is the product of years of negotiations, and collaborative work. It’s a real civil rights victory for all New Yorkers.”

Ronnie Raymond, a longtime advocate for accessible taxi service, testified that “Reliable, accessible transportation will change my life. With a wheelchair accessible fleet I would no longer relegated to staying home or spending hours trying to get somewhere that takes everyone else 20 minutes. Wheelchair accessible taxis and liveries will significantly change my life, and will help thousands of people like me.”

Simi Linton, Ph.D., a lifelong New Yorker and power wheelchair user, summarized the importance of the new regulations in her testimony at the hearing: “Having an accessible taxi fleet is essential to me. My livelihood, my well-being and the well-being of my family depend on being able to use taxis.”

Disability Rights Advocates is a nonprofit legal center that recently won a court case against the City of New York because of the City’s failure to provide adequate disaster planning for people with disabilities. The same law firm also won a court order forcing the New York Board of Elections to remove multiple access barriers at its voter poll sites.

CONTACTS:

Sid Wolinsky, Director of Litigation
Disability Rights Advocates
swolinsky@dralegal.org (212) 644-8644

Dan Brown, Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton
dlbrown@sheppardmullin.com
(212) 634-3095

Julia Pinover, Disability Rights Advocates
jpinover@dralegal.org
(212) 644-8644

Edith Prentiss/Joe Rappaport
Taxis For All Campaign
(646) 284-1078

Kara Janssen, Disability Rights Advocates
kjanssen@dralegal.org
(510) 665-8644

Reproduced from http://www.dralegal.org/pressroom/press-releases/historic-rule-passed-nyc-taxicab-accessibility-to-dramatically-increase