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Taxis For All Campaign News Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

By: Tina Redwine, NY1 reporter


Link to original content and video of segment:

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/139708/judge-allows-disabled-activists--lawsuit-for-taxi-access


Chris Noel attempting to hail a cab


Advocates for the disabled won a decisive round on Tuesday in court against the city, when a federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the Taxi and Limousine Commission to make all city taxi cabs wheelchair accessible. NY1's Transit reporter Tina Redwine filed the following report.


Advocates for the disabled were rejoicing Tuesday after a federal judge refused to dismiss their lawsuit against the Taxi and Limousine Commission to make all taxi cabs wheelchair accessible.


"It's a fantastic move. Maybe in the next 12, 18 months, we'll actually be able to hail some cabs out here on New York City streets," said activist David McCauley.


Three groups, including Disabled In Action, are behind the suit.


The city points out that no federal or local law requires accessible cabs. In fact, city lawyers say the Americans with Disabilities Act specifically exempts taxicabs from the requirement.


The judge said given that less than 2 percent of medallions are issued to accessible cabs, there are grounds to take the discrimination suit to trial.


Plaintiffs say with the city pushing ahead with its so-called "taxi of the future," which they say is not accessible, the disabled will be shut out for years.


"I feel the city is being obstinate about its decision now. There is no logic to it," said James Weisman of the United Spinal Association.


City lawyers say that is not the case, as there is a version of the new taxi that will take a wheelchair, although owners will not be forced to buy it.


The city also says the TLC is developing a dispatch program for the disabled to call for an accessible cab.


Still, advocates say that is not enough.


"I work and pay taxes, I vote. So I have a right to get into a taxi just like everyone else. I think it's shameful Bloomberg doesn't see this," said activist Milagros Franco.


Both sides are due back in court on August 10.

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