Putting Taxi Accessibility in the Fast Lane
Much has been made by the Mayor about providing New Yorkers who live in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Northern Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island with access to street hail taxi service, but what about the thousands of New Yorkers who use wheelchairs and live in these areas? This issue has continued to elude the Mayor for years, but luckily I have found a solution.
I am proud to announce that after working in concert with the largest taxi and livery associations in New York, I have developed the Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan (A4ATL), a plan which will vastly increase wheelchair accessible taxi and livery service for New Yorkers in all five boroughs. This landmark agreement requires all newly auctioned yellow taxi medallions to be accessible and includes the establishment of a task force to improve taxi and livery accessibility for all New Yorker's with disabilities. The A4ATL plan will increase the number of accessible taxis and liveries from roughly 300 to 3,000 over the next three years.
Specifically, my plan modifies the existing "livery street hail" plan by:
- Requiring all 1,500 of the new yellow taxi medallions be accessible, rather than just the 569 in the original plan
- Replacing the 30,000 non-accessible livery street hail permits with a far more feasible 6,000 livery street hail medallions, 1,200 of which will be wheelchair accessible.
Not only will this plan deliver better transportation opportunities to wheelchair-users, but it raises much-needed revenue for the City and saves the cash-strapped MTA scarce funds. This will create an incredible opportunity for the MTA's Access-A-Ride to take advantage of these new cabs to save money while at the same time providing a superior service.
I recently sent Governor Cuomo a letter outlining the A4ATL plan and asked that he return the bill to the legislature so that we can incorporate the A4ATL plan's criteria. I was joined by other elected officials from the State Assembly, State Senate, and New York City Council on this letter, adding to the already broad coalition of support this plan has won.
While I will continue to push for 100% accessibility, I'm encouraged that the taxi and livery industries recognize that they can do well by doing good and I commend them for it. With groups like the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the Livery Round Table, the Federation of New York State Taxi Drivers, the Greater New York Taxi Association, the Committee for Taxi Safety, the League of Mutual Taxi Owners and the Taxicab Service Association all in favor of the plan, the entire industry has shown that they are ready to pull up to the curb and turn on the meter for wheelchair-users.
Whether a person is on two feet or four wheels, in Manhattan or the Bronx, everyone should be able to hail a taxi.
You can read my full press release here .
You can read my letter to Governor Cuomo here .