New Yorkers With Disabilities File Major Challenge To Bloomberg’s Taxi Of Tomorrow Initiative And Inaccessible Taxi Fleet
New York, New York. Aug 28 2013– In a pending federal lawsuit likely to have major implications for the City’s future taxi fleet and the Bloomberg administration’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” initiative, a coalition of disability groups today filed a motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that forcing medallion owners to purchase the Nissan NV200 van and use it as a taxi is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Under the ADA a vehicle which is a van and used as a taxicab must be accessible for persons with disabilities. Plaintiffs therefore are asking the court to rule that the Nissan NV200, selected as the Taxi of Tomorrow, is in fact a “van.” Plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit organization, and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.
New York City has more taxis than any other city in America. Despite their importance to life in the City, less than 2% of the more than 13,000 taxis in New York are accessible. The Taxi of Tomorrow Initiative, an initiative to select a mandatory taxi vehicle for the next ten years, was a golden opportunity to rectify this injustice. The Bloomberg Administration ultimately squandered this opportunity. Instead of selecting a vehicle that could serve all New Yorkers, the City selected a van which is not usable by wheelchair users.
“The failure to make the taxi fleet accessible to wheelchair users is not only unjust but an example of poor policy. The City spends over $500 million per year on paratransit, an expenditure that could be significantly reduced if the City’s taxi fleet were accessible,” Plaintiffs’ attorney, Kara Janssen from Disability Rights Advocates, said. “The City has an opportunity now to recognize their mistake and make the Taxi of Tomorrow accessible so it can be something that all New Yorkers can benefit from.”
Julia Pinover of Disability Rights Advocates, (212) 644-8644, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kara Janssen of Disability Rights Advocates, (510) 665-8644; email@example.com
Sid Wolinsky of Disability Rights Advocates, (510) 665-8644; firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel L. Brown of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP, (212) 634-3095; email@example.com