By Alexandria Braboy, AAPD intern
The Justice Department recently backed a lawsuit filed by disability rights advocates that charges New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) with non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of the more than 13,000 taxis in NYC, only 232 are accessible to wheelchair users. The lawsuit makes it clear that this disproportionate statistic isn’t good enough. The lawsuit argues that New York is required to make all taxis wheelchair accessible or guarantee an equivalent alternative.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg took issue with a completely accessible taxicab system. A few days ago, he publically dismissed making taxis accessible to all New Yorkers and visitors. He argued that accessible cabs sell for more money, “use a lot more gas,” and that the “average person” would be uncomfortable in an accessible cab, among other things.
But arguments like his miss the point of the lawsuit. Keeping the majority of cabs—an “essential [service] […] for the public”—inaccessible excludes people with disabilities from an essential mode of transportation. All New Yorkers regardless of whether they have disabilities need taxis; they should be accessible to all.
AAPD is a strong advocate for accessible transportation. We believe that our nation needs to invest in modes of transportation that promote opportunities for everyone. Fully accessible taxis are an important part of that.
To weigh in with Mayor Bloomberg, call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) or email http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html