Taxis For All to Hold ”Roll-In” for Civil Rights at Display of Non-Accessible ”Taxi of Tomorrow”
WILL URGE MAYOR BLOOMBERG TO ALLOW EQUAL ACCESS TO TRANSPORTATION; ABIDE BY JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OPINION
NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Taxis For All Campaign (TFAC), supported by United Spinal Association, is holding a “roll-in” on Thursday at noon to protest New York City’s continued determination to violate the civil rights of New Yorkers and visitors who are disabled.
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The roll-in will illustrate that the Nissan vehicle on display at the Taxi of Tomorrow “expo” (23rd Street at Fifth Avenue & Broadway) is not accessible to wheelchair users.
Holding signs reading, “NYC Violates Civil Rights – Justice Dep’t,” the roll-in participants will line up at the display and show that the lack of a ramp and adequate space within the vehicle will prevent them from using the Nissan.
In May, the Taxi & Limousine Commission designated the non-accessible Nissan NV200 as its “Taxi of Tomorrow,” even though the city already faced a lawsuit on accessibility.
After the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District urged the federal judge in the case to rule in favor of greater access for wheelchair users, Mayor Bloomberg has repeatedly dismissed the need for equal access.
“It’s hard to believe that in 2011 we have a mayor who seems determined to defy the U.S. Justice Department when it comes to equal access to transportation,” said Edith Prentiss, the chair of the Taxis For All Campaign.
“Perpetuating the inaccessibility of the taxi system is blatantly discriminatory. The mayor has chosen to bar New Yorkers and tourists using wheelchairs and scooters from the Taxi of Tomorrow,” said James Weisman, SVP and General Counsel of United Spinal Association.
“The Justice Department agrees with United Spinal that the yellow cab system should be accessible to all, not just to people who can walk,” he added.
TFAC will distribute leaflets at the roll-in that give “The Facts” about accessibility, a point-by-point refutation of the absurd and incorrect statements made by Mayor Bloomberg and TLC chief David Yassky. Among other things, the mayor has claimed that accessible taxis are too big, so drivers “can’t establish a dialogue, and they get lower tips.”
TFAC will hand out a sheet with quotations from supporters, including two former TLC chairs. Diane McGrath-McKechnie and Christopher Lynn wrote Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo on October 6, urging a fully accessible fleet and calling the lack of progress a “shame of the city.”
The group also has urged Governor Cuomo to reject city-endorsed legislation that would allow up to 30,000 street hail permits by a new class of cab unless the new service is accessible. As written, the law would not add one additional accessible vehicle.
Advocates for accessible vehicles also point out that the city, state and the MTA could save significant money by requiring accessible vehicles. They could be used to slow the growth of Access-A-Ride where an average ride costs $58.95.
The MTA predicts a huge increase in the cost of Access-A-Ride from 2011 to 2014 (from $440 million to approximately $660 million), far out-stripping the increase for other MTA services.
When: Thursday, November 3, noon
Where: Site of Taxi Expo, 23rd Street at Fifth Avenue & Broadway
– Row of wheelchair users unable to get into Nissan “Taxi of Tomorrow”
– Signs urging Mayor Bloomberg to end its opposition to wheelchair-accessible taxis, including:
– Justice Dep’t
About The Taxis For All Campaign
Taxis For All Campaign is a coalition of the city’s major disability organizations. Along with the United Spinal campaign and individual campaign members, TFAC is a plaintiff in a lawsuit, Noel v. TLC, filed in January by the New York City office of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit law firm.
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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<font size=”2″ face=”Arial”>Jim Weisman</font>
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SOURCE United Spinal Association