NEW YORK, July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association, Taxis For All Campaign and other wheelchair user advocates held a "roll-in" outside Uber's West Side headquarters in Manhattan today, calling on the company to end its discriminatory practices and to start serving wheelchair users, blind people and other disabled persons in New York City and around the U.S.
The protestors urged Mayor de Blasio, the City Council and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to enforce rules and pass new legislation that would require Uber and other app-based taxi services to serve wheelchair users.
"Uber's zeal to replace the soon to be 50% accessible yellow cab industry coupled with their refusal to operate even a single accessible vehicle is jeopardizing the taxi option for wheelchair and scooter users," said James Weisman, President and CEO of United Spinal Association.
"The needs and rights of people with disabilities should not be ignored on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act," added Weisman.
TLC records show that at least 20,777 Uber vehicles are on city streets, along with thousands more Uber drivers, but not one Uber vehicle is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible taxis typically have a ramp that allows wheelchair and power chair users to roll into and out of the vehicle.
Holding signs reading, "UberUNFAIR," "Uber: NOT innovating, JUST discriminating" and "Uber: Stop Your Old Time Discrimination," wheelchair and scooter users and their supporters noted that 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, the six-year-old company has consistently rejected direct appeals to offer accessible service here or in other cities
"Uber says it's revolutionizing the taxi business, but what it's really doing is engaging in old-style discrimination," said protest organizer Jean Ryan, a Taxis For All leader and a vice president at Disabled In Action.
The Taxis For All Campaign was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Advocates against the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which won a commitment from the City of New York for a 50% accessible yellow taxi fleet by 2020.
"Why should Uber get away without serving people in wheelchairs like me, while yellow taxis are finally starting to meet their obligation?" Ryan asked.
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.
About Taxis For All Campaign
Taxis For All Campaign is a coalition of the city's major disability groups and advocacy organizations, including the United Spinal Association, Disabled In Action and the city's independent living centers.
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SOURCE United Spinal Association