Despite a motion by New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Judge George Daniels' freeze on the Commission granting medallions to non-accessible taxis remains in effect.
New York seems determined to go down fighting on this one. Seeing as their relatively small number of accessible taxis (and the plan Bloomberg had previously proposed to meet taxi access needs for city residents that use wheelchairs) was found to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, one wonders why the TLC thinks that New York City should be above the law.
I was not aware that they had filed a motion to stay Judge Daniels' order on accessible taxis in New York city. It does seem in keeping with the arrogance, not to mention the disregard for the transportation needs of both citizens of and visitors who use wheelchairs, with which Bloomberg and his crew have handled the lawsuit over accessible taxis in New York City.
See the category called "Accessible Taxis in New York City" for previous blog posts on this story.
On a Brighter Note...
The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), which also faced a lawsuit in July 2011over lack of accessible taxis, is currently moving much faster with its plan to create a totally accessible fleet than New York is. The city had no accessible taxis in July, and now has three, with plans for 300 by the end of the year. By 2016, Philadelphia will have 1600 taxis on its streets.
Mayor Bloomberg, meet me at Camera Three...
(Which, for those of you who don't watch "The Daily Show", is what host Jon Stewart says when he wants to say something to just one person.)
I don't live in New York City, so maybe I shouldn't I be talking for New Yorkers that use wheelchairs. But I did have to use a wheelchair for over a year, and I struggled with the accessibility issues that came with it...and I've watched my own small town try to become more accessible for people with disabilities. I know that it doesn't happen overnight. I know that there's planning involved, and budgeting, and that sometimes it has to happen in bits and pieces, so that sometimes the ultimate goal *is* several years away.
I think that most people with disabilities understand this. If you took a poll of your voters who use wheelchairs, I think they'd probably tell you that they're not expecting you to make oodles of accessible taxis in New York city a reality overnight. They're reasonable people.
But I think they do want to see some movement on the plan to increase the number of accessible taxis in New York city, because this is about more than transportation. It's about knowing that their mayor values at least their vote enough to take their concerns seriously, and about knowing that their presence in New York and the contribution that they can make to their communities in valued regardless of disability.
Because if you don't feel strongly about giving people with disabilities an easy way to participate in New York life - that sends a message that you don't really want them involved in New York life. And that's a terrible message to have to live with from someone that claims to be representing your best interest.
London has done this. Philadelphia is doing it. You can do it. New Yorkers know it won't be overnight. But for God's sake - get started.