Yesterday’s official press conference announcing the launch of our program was a great success! The event garnered 100+ guests including the press, advocates from the community of people with disabilities, local organizations and city officials.
We’ve been beta-testing the service expansion since September last year under the TLC’s scrutiny. To date, the program has provided over 1,100 successful wheelchair accessible taxi rides to passengers from neighborhoods like Riverdale, Bay Ridge, East New York and Dongan Hills. In these outer borough neighborhoods, the average wait time has been 15 to 20 minutes during this test phase. It’s also important to note that there were 233 accessible yellow cabs in 2012. Today, there are 2,175 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs, according to Allan J. Fromberg, the TLC’s deputy commissioner for public affairs.
Speakers for the event included Victor Calise, the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Meera Joshi, the current Chair and CEO of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Here’s what some of the speakers had to say about the program expansion:
“People with disabilities face many daunting transportation obstacles in getting to work, shopping, seeing friends — just everyday living — and our city suffers for it both economically and on an equity basis. This new citywide program is there to remove some of those obstacles and make a real difference in some people’s lives.”
– Meera Joshi, the Chair and CEO of the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission
“It’s wonderful that citywide accessible dispatch is now available so we can get rides in the outer boroughs, too……hopefully in the future, all cabs and for-hire vehicles will be wheelchair accessible to really achieve equal access for all.”
– Jean Ryan, Rider and Vice President for Public Affairs of Disabled In Action
Jean, a Brooklyn resident, also told a story about how she was negatively affected by a lack of transportation options in the past. She spoke about an incident when she had a family emergency late at night and needed help getting to an emergency room. However, no accessible transportation services were available to her at the time. Without the help of her friend who happened to have a wheelchair accessible van, she would have been stranded with no assistance or ability to help herself.
Stories like this are the reason why this initiative exists.
The event was covered by major TV networks such as the NY Times, AM New York, CBS Radio, CBS New York, Brooklyn News 12, WABC 7, ABC 7, and Telemundo 47. Check out the video below to watch the event!
>> CBS New York: Wheelchair-Accessible Taxi Dispatch Program Expanding Citywide
>> NY Times: Riders Outside Manhattan Can Now Hail Accessible Taxis, Too
>> AM New York: Accessible Dispatch program expands to the outer boroughs