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Circuit to Hear Wheelchair-Accessible Taxi Case April 19

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on March 27, 2012 4:05 PM

There aren’t enough wheelchair-accessible taxis in New York City, according to a lawsuit filed against the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (ironically, TLC). Plaintiffs in the case, Noel v. New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, claim that the lack of wheelchair accessible taxicabs are a result of TLC’s policies and regulations, thus TLC denied disabled persons who use mobility assistance devices the opportunity to use the NYC taxicab system.

In December, U.S. District Judge George Daniels ruled that TLC violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing cabs for customers with wheelchairs. Judge Daniels also ordered the Bloomberg administration to present a plan to correct the deficiency, and mandated that new cabs added to the city’s fleet must be wheelchair-accessible, reports The New York Times.

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of Judge Daniels' order.

Just how bad is New York's taxi problem? At the time Judge Daniels issued his order, only 232 of the city's 13,237 cabs were wheelchair-accessible, according to Thomson Reuters News & Insight. That's roughly 1.8 percent.

The Second Circuit's stay doesn't mean that the accessible taxi deficiency will go unchecked: The city says that it's new taxi plan -- approved by the state last year -- will address the taxi shortage. The city, however, argued that Judge Daniels abused his discretion when issuing his order in the case, and misread how the ADA applies to the city's taxi authority, according to Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether or not it should let Judge Daniels' order stand when it hears oral arguments in the matter on April 19.

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