NYC “Taxi of Tomorrow” does nothing for accessibility

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Officials from NYC announced that the Nissan NV200 will be the city’s “Taxi of Tomorrow.” One of the competing vehicles, proposed by the Karsan company from Turkey actually had a retractable wheelchair ramp in each vehicle. Unfortunately, the city will rely on an accessible taxi dispatch program to facilitate accessible taxi service.

So instead of being able to roll out and hail any taxi, wheelchair users will still have to pick up the phone, request a taxi, and then sit around and wait for it to find them. For this to be effective there has to be quite a large number of accessible taxis available. Judging from my the general consensus, accessible taxis are not as numerous as they should be. The only consolation here is that at least we wheelchair users have a seat to sit on while we wait!

If you read the announcement from Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s site, you’ll see confirming evidence that accessibility truly was an afterthought. There are no details about accessibility until the very bottom of the article, where it states: “Nissan has designed a wheelchair-accessible version of the NV200 that it will make available to any taxi purchaser at an additional cost.”

So I’m going to have to wait longer for a taxi AND it’s going to cost more? That is ridiculous if not illegal. You cannot charge a disabled passenger more for accessible taxi service if you offer regular taxi service.

The obvious solution here is that if there’s an accessible version of the NV200 then why not just use that for ALL the taxis? Problem solved. It’s not like able-bodied people can’t ride in accessible taxis for crying out loud.

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