Here’s the deal. Places all over the world are making changes to make it easier for disabled travelers to visit. The London transit system’s accessibility has gotten a lot of praise. Europe is coming together in a universal system for disabled drivers–regardless of their citizenship! Cities are starting accessible programs like making their beaches wheelchair accessible, like in Italy and Brazil! But here in the US, after just celebrating 23 years of the American Disabilities Act, you can still find news articles like this….
New York City has 233 accessible taxis, out of a fleet of 13,000.
There was a bill signed by Gov. Cuomo a year an a half ago to add 2,000 new accessible taxis to this fleet. This victory was short lived as this state law was ultimately deemed unconstitutional by New York court. The reason? Because the city should be able to make these sorts of decisions.
Now the fate of accessible taxis lays in the hands of Mayor Bloomberg, who supported the court’s ruling. Bloomberg predictably chose to revert to the previous strategy: a dispatch program that sends the 233 existing accessible to callers familiar with the program.
What makes this particularly upsetting is that when this measure (Intro #433-A) was first passed at the state level, it was supported by a “veto-proof majority of Council members”. THEN Mayor Bloomberg, represented by a Taxi and Limousine Commissioner spokesperson (David Yassky), opposed the bill. Guess who won.
It is simply outrageous! Regardless of the issue. If Measure 433-A said I couldn’t eat Oreos with milk and this same situation happened, I’d still be furious. (Even if the end result meant that I could continue to consume the cookie in it’s greatest glory: dunked in “liquid gold”.) And that is because the will of the majority was overpowered by the personal agendas of powerful folk.
Despite this outcome, the United Spinal Association deserves much recognition for their contribution to this battle. If there is one thing that can beat powerful folk, it’s persistent folk on the right side of the issue.
I think this disappointing news gives a very good picture of why they call it the city that never sleeps. You stay up half the night waiting for a taxi, and by the time you get home, you have to phone the dispatch immediately if you have any hopes of getting to your appointments on time. No time to sleep on a system like that.
What do you think?