United Spinal Statement Hails Court of Appeals Ruling to Add Accessible Taxis

| June 6, 2013

United Spinal Association celebrates the Court of Appeals decision to reinstate a law passed over a year ago that would give wheelchair users access to yellow taxis in New York City and liveries beyond Manhattan.

Currently, only 232 taxis out of approximately 13,000 yellow taxis and 20 out of 30,000 liveries are accessible, making travel by taxi a virtual impossibility for wheelchair users in New York City.

The plan calls for 2,000 medallions to be sold for wheelchair-accessible yellow taxis and 20 percent of liveries to be wheelchair-accessible.

“This is a long overdue victory for people with disabilities, who use scooters or wheelchairs not only today, but for the rapidly growing aging population, who have the civil right to hail a taxi just like people who can walk,” said James Weisman, SVP and General Counsel of United Spinal Association.

“The plan will dramatically reduce the Access-A-Ride costs ($500 million this year) and exorbitant Medicaid ambulette costs ($200 million this year), while increasing the mobility and employability of those who live and travel in New York City,” Weisman added.

Since the ruling, at least one industry group, The Greater New York Taxi Association, called for a 100 percent wheelchair-accessible fleet and for the city to abandon its ill-conceived plan to require just a single yellow taxi model.

“While this ruling is a big step in addressing the needs of people with physical disabilities, the city has yet to commit to a 100 percent accessible fleet as London has done since 1989,” said Paul J. Tobin, United Spinal’s President and CEO.

“But the handwriting is on the wall, all taxis will soon be accessible to all those hailing a taxi in New York,” he added.

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