Think “taxi cab” and you can’t help but think of New York, with its multitudes of classic yellow sedans lining narrow city streets. According to the 2014 Taxicab Fact Book published by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, cabs transport 600,000 passengers each day, are aged an average of 3.3 years, and travel 70,000 miles each year. Approximately 60 percent of the city’s cabs are hybrid-electric, while only two percent are wheelchair accessible. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking steps to increase that percentage, with a goal to make 50 percent of the city’s taxis accessible by 2020 by adding 30-cent surcharge to all cab fares, beginning in 2015.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced in 1990, it extended rights to citizens whose needs were often ignored. The ADA granted transportation rights, outlining, among other things, the fundamental guidelines demand-responsive services (which necessitate an action be taken to initiate, i.e. calling a taxi service to schedule a pickup) must adhere to when conducting business. Namely, a cab company may not discriminate or charge additional fare based on a person’s disability, and must allow service animals to accompany their owner (under the ADA, only dogs and miniature horse are recognized). Cab companies are exempt from providing para-transit (special transportation services for people with disabilities, often provided as a supplement to fixed-route bus and rail systems by public transit agencies), but must have a number of accessible vehicles in their fleet.
While surcharges and taxes are generally unpopular, adding the surcharge in NYC make good sense: as the baby boomer generation ages, their needs—and level of mobility—will change, requiring more accessible transportation options to be available.
Symbius Medical’s Mobility & Custom Rehab Department provides customers with a variety of mobility options to fit any lifestyle throughout Arizona and Utah. From complex rehab to custom power chairs to manual wheelchairs, scooters, lift chairs, canes and walkers our certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and Rehab Specialists can help customers determine the best product available to fit any need.