Federal Court Enjoins Plan To Add New Wheelchair-Equipped Taxis in NYC because There Are Not Enough Wheelchair-Equipped Taxis in NYC

December 24th, 2011

Following up on my previous coverage of the NYC-taxi cartel, another branch of government has gotten involved.

New York City’s fleet of taxi cabs violates part of the Americans With Disabilities Act by not sufficiently providing for customers who use wheelchairs, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

The requirement, issued by Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court in Manhattan, is similar to the mandate placed on the city in a bill signed this week by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who, in approving a plan to legalize street hails of livery cabs, asked for a plan for more taxis to be accessible.

The city had been planning to start selling permits in the spring for a new class of livery cabs, which can be hailed on the street in northern Manhattan and the other four boroughs.

But now, under the ruling, until the judge approves the report, the city will be able to issue permits only for livery cabs that are wheelchair accessible.

Separately, because of the bill, the city will be prohibited from auctioning more than 400 new yellow cab medallions — a significant source of revenue that is already included in next year’s budget — until the State Transportation Department, which is overseen by Mr. Cuomo, approves its accessibility plan. The city has been planning an auction of 2,000 medallions, all of which will require their owners to drive wheelchair-accessible cabs, over the next three years.

In New York, it’s hard to please everyone.

I read somewhere (may be apocryphal) that Mayor Koch once said that it would be cheaper to pay for every disabled person to take a taxi than to add disability-access to all of the subways and bussess in the city.

H/T Militza