What's holding New York up?
The taxi industry is resisting accessible cabs - just like the auto industry resisted seat belts, airbags and higher fuel economy. But the City regulates 100% of the taxi industry. So it's time for a mandated, gradual conversion to accessible vehicles for the entire fleet. Otherwise, 49 out of every 50 yellow cabs in the fleet will remain out of reach for most wheelchair users.
Statement of Edith Prentiss, chair, Taxis For All Campaign
The Taxis For All Campaign is very disappointed that the City Council will not vote on Intro. 433-A, Council Member Koppell's proposal for a gradual transition to an 100 percent accessible yellow-taxi fleet. The bill had a veto proof majority of sponsors.
Unfortunately, this week the Council Member had decided to move forward with a much different proposal than Intro. 433-A, in part because Speaker Quinn would not support Intro. 433-A. His new proposal would have made the accessibility requirement null and void if the cost of running an accessible taxi was 5 percent or higher than a non-accessible taxi. That's a loophole big enough to drive a fleet of cabs through.
The Council's new bill put a price tag on civil rights, which no one should accept. However, we did suggest the Council include a way of mitigating the cost of accessible taxis so that higher costs to taxi purchasers would be offset -- a reasonable proposal that has support in the taxi industry. However, Council Member Koppell and, apparently, Speaker Quinn rejected this approach.
This is not over. Under Speaker Quinn, the number of accessible taxis has remained stuck at about 231 since 2007 out of 13,237 taxis. That's a record that must change.
For more information, contact Edith Prentiss
Statement of Edith Prentiss, Chair of Taxis For All Campaign
Comptroller Liu's bold decision to reject the Taxi of Tomorrow contract is smart, fair and the right thing to do. In a city that strives for innovation and equality, the city proposes instead to introduce a non-accessible taxi that violates federal Americans with Disabilities law and would leave tens of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors at the curb. Mayor Bloomberg and David Yassky's reluctance to accommodate all citizens is a throwback to the days we all should be eager to leave behind.
The mayor has foolishly dismissed Liu's action, but we stand with the comptroller and are prepared to return to court if necessary. We also call on Speaker Quinn to take action now in the City Council to require all taxis to be wheelchair-accessible.
For more information, contact Edith Prentiss
Statement of Edith Prentiss, Taxis For All Campaign
This is a giant roll-back for equal access and fair play, not a leap forward.
TLC Commissioner Yassky and his colleagues had a real chance to make our taxi system accessible, as London's has been since 1989. But Yassky instead chose a
In response to the January 5, 2012 Op-Ed article by Matthew Daus,
From the New York Times
To the Editor:
Matthew W. Daus doesn't pay attention to the needs and rights of people with disabilities. The new taxi legislation announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last month that would put 2,000 wheelchair-accessible cabs on the streets will not only benefit wheelchair users but also aging baby boomers and returning veterans. If London can run a 100 percent accessible fleet, so can New York City.
Mr. Daus says
The city tried a dispatch system, as he notes, and it failed miserably. Mr. Daus now wants the city to go back into the dispatch business when it can simply require new taxis to be accessible.
The new legislation will not force taxpayers to
Mr. Daus's failure to provide meaningful service to people with disabilities is the reason a lawsuit and legislation were required.
LANDMARK DECISION: NEW YORK CITY TAXI AND LIMOUSINE COMMISSION'S OPERATION OF INACCESSIBLE TAXI FLEET DISCRIMINATES AGAINST NEW YORKERS WITH DISABILITIES
New York, NY – December 23, 2011 – In a major victory for wheelchair users, a Federal Court ruled today that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission's (TLC) operation of an overwhelmingly inaccessible taxi fleet constitutes discrimination against people with disabilities. The groundbreaking decision is the first of its kind in the country and is the culmination of over a decade of advocacy by persons with disabilities. The ruling is expected to have national implications.
Federal Judge George B. Daniels held:
Judge Daniels further noted that
Judge Daniel's then ordered that
Read the court's decision at: www.dralegal.org.
The federal class action lawsuit, which seeks no damages, was filed in January 2011 by a coalition of people with disabilities, including: United Spinal Association, Taxis for All Campaign, and Disabled In Action. Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit legal center specializing in class action litigation, and Outten & Golden represent the Plaintiffs.
New York City has more taxis than any city in America. Yet only 232 (1.8%) out of 13,237 taxis are accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Because multiple modes of transportation, including subway stations are also inaccessible, the lack of accessible taxis has left wheelchair users with no viable way to travel in New York City. A non-disabled person is over 25 times more likely to get a taxi within ten minutes than is a person who uses a wheelchair, and the TLC admits there is no reason why it could not require that more taxis be accessible.
This decision is the first in the country in which a court has found that a city's taxi system must be wheelchair accessible. London's taxi fleet of over 19,000 cabs has been 100% wheelchair accessible for many years.
In October 2011, the United States Department of Justice took the rare step of filing a brief supporting Disability Rights Advocates' position that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the New York taxi fleet to be wheelchair accessible.
Edith Prentiss of the Taxis for All Campaign said,
Plaintiff Simi Linton, Ph.D., a lifelong New Yorker and power wheelchair user said,
Julia Pinover of Disability Rights Advocates said,
Chris Noel, an individual plaintiff who has been using a wheelchair for nearly ten years said,
Sid Wolinsky, Director of Litigation of Disability Rights Advocates said,
Jean Ryan of the Plaintiff organization, the Disabled In Action said,
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Full legal text of Judge Daniels' decision as a PDF document
Statement of Edith Prentiss, Chair
Judge Daniels' decision concludes an amazing week for persons who are disabled and all those who believe in civil rights and basic fairness.
We are absolutely thrilled with the judge's ruling, which strongly supports our argument that wheelchair users deserve access to New York City's taxi system.
First, Governor Cuomo boldly negotiated an agreement that will lead to full accessibility for wheelchair users on yellow taxis and street-hail liveries, saying
Judge Daniels calls for
In a footnote, he also writes:
Finally, Judge Daniels rules that, until the TLC submits a plan for wheelchair-accessibility, the City can sell no non-accessible medallion or permits for yellow taxis or liveries.
We thank Judge Daniels for his wise ruling. We also thank our attorneys, Julia Pinover and Sid Wolinsky at Disabled Rights Advocates, for their unbelievable dedication and skill, and the lead plaintiffs and the other groups who were a party to this suit along with the Taxis For All Campaign.
Press Coverage on Judge Daniels' ruling
Statement of Edith Prentiss, Chair
Today Governor Cuomo is the catalyst in an extraordinary achievement that will finally mean a taxi system that will serve all New Yorkers and visitors.
We applaud the governor's leadership and the foresight of the Assembly and Senate in coming to this historic agreement. Finally, New York City will have the world-class taxi system that it deserves as a world-class city.
This deal will mean that people who are disabled will have the same option as every other New Yorker: the ability to travel spontaneously, quickly and easily when they are going to their jobs, to school or just out for a night on the town.
The plan to make the taxi system wheelchair-accessible is good not only for people with disabilities, though; it also is good for business, tourism and cultural and education institutions. Most important, though, it is the right thing to do.
New York City was the first city to have an accessible bus system in the 1980s. Now it continues to lead the nation as the first city to move toward a fully accessible taxi system.
Veterans, seniors and other people with disabilities—who have waited for decades for access on the city's taxis—are thrilled tonight with this agreement and thank Governor Cuomo for his skillful and principled leadership.
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VIDEO: NY1 Inside City Hall: Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky Breaks Down New Cab Deal (December 21, 2011)
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