“To further ensure that all New Yorkers and City visitors have equal access to taxi service, the TLC recently expanded our previous Accessible Dispatch program, which required trips to begin in Manhattan, to provide service for trips that start in all five boroughs. Residents and visitors alike can now order a wheelchair accessible yellow or green taxi from anywhere in New York City with booking available by calling a dispatch center, dialing 311, scheduling a trip online, or through the ‘Accessible Dispatch NYC’ app,” Edward Friedman, TLC Interim Disability Service Facilitator, mentioned in a recent Medium article titled The Future of Accessible Transportation: The New York City Taxi.
Edward’s article highlights the strides that New York City has taken in recent years to ensure transportation options citywide are more accessible, including Access-A-Ride and the Accessible Dispatch program—both services that offer wheelchair accessible transportation services. In particular, the Accessible Dispatch program has evolved from serving only trips starting in Manhattan to now providing accessible service in green and yellow taxis throughout all five boroughs. This is a huge advantage not only for people with disabilities who live in the city and need to navigate seamlessly through their daily lives, but for visitors who travel from all over the world to see the Big Apple. In fact, according to New York City Government, the city welcomes six million people with disabilities annually.
The most prominent takeaway from Edward’s Medium article is how promising the evolution of accessible transportation is in our city. “To date, there are approximately 2,100 wheelchair accessible yellow taxis on the road, and the TLC is committed to reaching fifty percent of the fleet—or approximately 6,800 vehicles—by 2020. Additionally, there are approximately 240 wheelchair accessible green taxis on the road, as a number of Street Hail Livery licenses have been set aside for wheelchair accessible vehicles.” We still have a long way to go to make New York City’s transportation system fully accessible, but the increase in accessible taxis is an important step.
Programs like Accessible Dispatch enable people from all walks of life to have more opportunity and access to major metro areas like New York City without feeling left behind. Change is inevitable, but one thing will remain true with Accessible Dispatch: our goal is to improve the way individuals with disabilities go about their daily lives and ensure they can access the city like never before.