United Spinal hails New York City Vote to Expand accessible taxi Fleet to 50% by 2020

.@UnitedSpinal hails landmark NYC Vote to Finance Expansion of Accessible Taxis for #Wheelchair users. Victory for disability rights activists. http://htl.li/wn3v5

02 May, 2014, 09:10 ET from United Spinal Association

NEW YORK, May 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association today acclaimed the unanimous vote by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis to 50% of the entire fleet by 2020.

Beginning in January 2015 a 30 cent per ride surcharge will be applied to the 13,000 plus yellow cabs and street hail borough taxis, eventually increasing the number of yellow wheelchair accessible taxis from the current 405 cabs to at least 7,500.

"This victory is the result of 15 years of litigation by United Spinal and other disability advocates," said James Weisman, United Spinal SVP and general counsel.

"The increase of access to all modes of transportation to the public will enhance the employability and lifestyle of wheelchairs users or people with mobility impairments who wish to live, work and travel in New York City," he added.

"Reliable accessible transportation changes my life," testified Ronnie Raymond, a United Spinal board member and wheelchair user who spoke during the TLC hearing just prior to the vote.

"I want to have a life that is meaningful, affordable and achievable," she added echoing the views of the many disability advocates who had gathered at the TLC headquarters to support the historic vote.

Weisman added, "The measure adopted by the TLC will create sufficient funds to purchase and maintain accessible taxis as well as to create a dispatch for accessible borough taxis."

The plan also has the potential to dramatically reduce the city's Access-A-Ride costs ($500 million this year) and exorbitant Medicaid ambulette costs ($200 million this year), noted Weisman.

About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.

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Jim Weisman

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SOURCE United Spinal Association