James Weisman, United Spinal Association’s president and CEO recently contributed an op-ed to the NY Daily News blasting the e-hail giant Uber for its lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles.
In just four years, Uber has expanded its fleet in New York City to include more than 20,000 operating vehicles. For people who can walk, these cars have brought new mobility options — and tremendous convenience. But not a single one of those vehicles is wheelchair-accessible.
“We were on the cusp of major progress before Uber reshaped the landscape. In 2013, we found ourselves in a similar situation on what was then the dominant for-hire automobile network: yellow cabs. The disability community had very limited access to taxis; only 231 yellow taxis in New York City were wheelchair-accessible. With pressure from federal lawsuits, we worked with the city and taxi owners to agree to a deal that would allow disabled New Yorkers the same basic transportation options as everyone else. The agreement struck: As old, inaccessible cabs were phased out, accessible ones would be phased in. Half of New York City taxis would be wheelchair-accessible by 2020,” said Weisman.
“This commitment was the first step in a long process to get equal treatment, but it was not a sufficient outcome. There should be no argument that the standard should be anything other than 100% accessible vehicles — because wheelchair users should have the same access as anyone else,” Weisman added.