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NYC Not Required to Offer More Wheelchair-Accessible Taxicabs

By Robyn Hagan Cain on July 03, 2012 4:01 PM

New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is not required to provide wheelchair-accessible taxicabs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Thursday, the appellate court reversed a temporary injunction ordering the city to develop a plan to expand its fleet of accessible taxis, noting that TLC had not denied wheelchair-bound customers an opportunity to participate in TLC’s services, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

"Although only 231 medallions are conditioned on wheelchair accessibility, none of the medallions issued by the TLC prohibits any medallion owner from operating an accessible taxi," Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote in the opinion.

But that's not to say that it's easy for disabled New Yorkers to catch a cab.

When District Judge George Daniels ruled that TLC violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing cabs for customers with wheelchairs, only 233 of the city's cabs were wheelchair-accessible, according to News & Insight. That's less than 2 percent of the cabs in New York City.

While cabs are prevalent in the New York, the 60,000 wheelchair-bound customers have only a 3.31 percent chance of hailing an accessible cab within 10 minutes. Other taxi customers have an 87.33 percent chance of finding a cab in the same amount of time.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals noted that, if TLC was required to ensure that the taxi industry provides a sufficient number of wheelchair-accessible taxicabs, it would mean that private taxi owners would be required to purchase or lease accessible taxis even though the ADA explicitly exempts them from such requirements. The court ruled that the exemption "compels the conclusion" that the ADA does not require the New York City taxi industry to provide accessible taxis.

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