Judge Rules New Medallions Must Go To Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis
January 2, 2012
Around Town – By Neal Tepel
Days after a landmark taxi reform deal was reached, a federal judge ruled on December 23, 2011 that the city can only issue new medallions to drivers with wheelchair-accessible cabs. Advocates argued the city failed to take into account people with disabilities when selecting the design for the so-called "taxi of tomorrow". As a result, they say the winning design violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The plaintiff's attorney said it's a huge victory because it’s the first case in the country that will require a taxi system to be accessible to people with disabilities."Transportation is really fundamental to everybody's civil rights and everybody's ability to live as an independent person and to make choices about their day. And now my clients and people with disabilities in New York City will be able to do that,” said Julia Pinover, attorney for Disability Rights Advocates. The judge ruled the city must come up with a comprehensive plan, and until then, they can only issue medallions for wheelchair-accessible cabs.
Currently, fewer than two-percent of the city's 13,000 taxis meet that requirement. City law officials say they are disappointed with the ruling.