The Bloomberg administration continues to fight efforts to make all of its Taxis of Tomorrow accessible. But a funny thing just happened. Our perennial rival London just unveiled its own new version of their iconic black cabs. It just so happens to be designed by Nissan, and looks very much like our own. But as Capital New York deftly points out, theirs is different in one important one: The cabs are handicapped accessible.
While taking credit for inspiring the design, the Taxi and Limousine Commission dismisses the possibility of making our own cabs accessible, instead blaming federal regulations:
“We love the fact that the London version will be using many of the passenger amenities that we achieved in the design process with Nissan, but its design and engineering standards are radically different from the vehicles we’ll be getting here in New York City,” said Allan Fromberg, spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission. “For one thing, it’s not ADA compliant.”
According to the TLC, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires taller cars and more gently sloping entry ramps, to accommodate more kinds of wheelchairs, scooters, and the like.
“The bottom line is that, if the goal is to provide great taxi service to everyone who wants it, we’ve got that covered between the New York Taxi of Tomorrow, and the 2,233 wheelchair-accessible taxicabs that will be available through our new accessible dispatch system that lets people ‘hail’ an accessible cab five different ways—by phone, app, email, text or web site,” Fromberg said.
And yet, the mayor has no problem lobbying Washington for stricter gun rules and looser Wall Street regulations. Why not get a waver or exemption to make it easier to make our own cabs accessible? Making the entire fleet accessible would certainly be more in the spirit of the ADA than saying it complicates matters and throwing up our hands. (To be fair, there is a dispatch system, but that sounds more like separate but equal than just good old equal.)