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Taxi of Tomorrow or Yesterday?

Taxi of Tomorrow or Yesterday?

May 5, 2011
Edith M Prentiss, Taxis For ALL Campaign


By selecting the Nissan NV200 as the Taxi of Tomorrow or rather the Taxi of Yesterday, the TLC and Mayor Bloomberg once again stated that people with disabilities including wheelchair users do not have the right to all modes of NYC public transportation. 

Wheelchair accessible vehicles are readily available in US cities and the world. Every cab in London is accessible and there is extensive accessible service across Britain, Europe, Australia, even Costa Rica. New York City currently has fewer than 240 out of 12,237 yellow taxis and an unknown number of for hire vehicles (limos, black cars, car service/liveries).  Wheelchair using visitors from localities where accessible taxis are the rule not the exception are shocked when the land at a New York City airport and try to grab a taxi to their hotel.

Do not be fooled by the Mayor’s claim that wheelchair users will have access to properly equipped vehicles. We can only assume the Mayor was referring to the latest two of a long line of failed programs that supposedly will offer the equivalent of yellow taxis to wheelchair users.

•    Symphony Car service received funding to provide accessible livery

•    In 2001, the For Hire Vehicle Rule (FHV 6-07), which required each base to either have an accessible vehicle or to contract with one of about a dozen bases authorized to offer WC accessible equivalent service, was to have become effective on Halloween 2001. But in the aftermath of 9/11, implementation was delayed and it never reached its intended goal of offering equivalent accessible service for wheelchair users. Then Council Member John Liu introduced a Bill to require each base to have its own accessible vehicle. The TLC never enforced the

•    In 2003 the A Ride for All, a car service base with only wheelchair accessible vehicles, was established. When the FHV rule became effective, ARFA quickly contracted with many more bases than they could serve with their handful of vehicles. AFRA was eventually bought by Carmel which prices its service as a black car not a livery.

•    In 2007 despite wheelchair users’ opposition, the TLC established the Central Dispatch Demonstration program with wheelchair users calling 311 for an accessible taxi. The beauty of yellow taxis is that you hail one by simply raising your arm or whistling! You don’t call, wait for a call back and then wait an hour for a vehicle. After trying once or twice Taxi of Tomorrow or Yesterday?
   
•    Edith M Prentiss, Taxis For ALL Campaign
    
•    By selecting the Nissan NV200 as the Taxi of Tomorrow or rather the Taxi of Yesterday, the TLC and Mayor Bloomberg once again stated that people with disabilities including wheelchair users do not have the right to all modes of NYC public transportation. 
       
•    Wheelchair accessible vehicles are readily available in US cities and the world. Every cab in London is accessible and there is extensive accessible service across Britain, Europe, Australia, even Costa Rica. New York City currently has fewer than 240 out of 12,237 yellow taxis and an unknown number of for hire vehicles (limos, black cars, car service/liveries).  Wheelchair using visitors from localities where accessible taxis are the rule not the exception are shocked when the land at a New York City airport and try to grab a taxi to their hotel.
     
•    Do not be fooled by the Mayor’s claim that wheelchair users will have access to properly equipped vehicles. We can only assume the Mayor was referring to the latest two of a long line of failed programs that supposedly will offer the equivalent of yellow taxis to wheelchair users.
     
•    Symphony Car service received funding to provide accessible livery
       
•    In 2001, the For Hire Vehicle Rule (FHV 6-07), which required each base to either have an accessible vehicle or to contract with one of about a dozen bases authorized to offer WC accessible equivalent service, was to have become effective on Halloween 2001. But in the aftermath of 9/11, implementation was delayed and it never reached its intended goal of offering equivalent accessible service for wheelchair users. Then Council Member John Liu introduced a Bill to require each base to have its own accessible vehicle. The TLC never enforced the
     
•     In 2003 the A Ride for All, a car service base with only wheelchair accessible vehicles, was established. When the FHV rule became effective, ARFA quickly contracted with many more bases than they could serve with their handful of vehicles. AFRA was eventually bought by Carmel which prices its service as a black car not a livery.
      
•     In 2007 despite wheelchair users’ opposition, the TLC established the Central Dispatch Demonstration program with wheelchair users calling 311 for an accessible taxi. The beauty of yellow taxis is that you hail one by simply raising your arm or whistling! You don’t call, wait for a call back and then wait an hour for a vehicle. After trying once or twice most wheelchair users gave up in frustration.
      
•     And the TLC and the Mayor’s latest follies: using 311 or another single entry point to request an accessible yellow taxi in Manhattan or for hire vehicle in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. 
      
•    The bottom line is that equivalent service never is! True if you hire a limo it does not within minutes, but that is a choice the customer makes when they book a limo or black car service. But when anyone not in a wheelchair can walk outside and put their arm up to hail a taxi or to be honest car service expecting wheelchair users to call 311, listen to recording about alternate side of the street parking etc before being transferred to the dispatch contractor and so forth is not equivalent!
   
•    Most wheelchair users gave up in frustration.

•    And the TLC and the Mayor’s latest follies: using 311 or another single entry point to request an accessible yellow taxi in Manhattan or for hire vehicle in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. 

The bottom line is that equivalent service never is! True if you hire a limo it does not within minutes, but that is a choice the customer makes when they book a limo or black car service. But when anyone not in a wheelchair can walk outside and put their arm up to hail a taxi or to be honest car service expecting wheelchair users to call 311, listen to recording about alternate side of the street parking etc before being transferred to the dispatch contractor and so forth is not equivalent!


 

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