The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) today officially launched its expanded Accessible Dispatch program, offering passengers a convenient, user-friendly way to request a wheelchair-accessible taxicab throughout the five boroughs. The program, which had been limited to pick-ups in Manhattan, fulfills the TLC’s promised expansion of the popular program’s pick-up service area. The new service debuted with a press conference at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, highlighting its borough-centric coverage area. Speakers included TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi, and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise.
After finalizing an exhaustive selection process, the TLC’s chosen dispatch service provider, Medical Transportation Management (MTM), beta-tested the service starting in September, under the TLC’s careful scrutiny. To date, the system has successfully provided over 1,100 wheelchair accessible taxi rides to passengers hailing from borough neighborhoods like Riverdale, East New York and Dongan Hills.
“Accessible transportation is truly accessible when it’s widely available to those who may need it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This five-borough expansion marks another important step in the mission to make New York a fairer city, ensuring transportation means to more riders who often struggle to find a reliable and convenient way to get around.”
“Where we go and how we get there is an essential part of the New York City experience,” said Commissioner Joshi. “People with disabilities face many daunting transportation obstacles in getting to work, shopping, seeing friends – just everyday living, and our city suffers for it both economically and on an equity basis. This new citywide program is there to remove some of those obstacles and make a real difference in some people’s lives.”
“As an advocate and as a person who uses a wheelchair, I know what a tremendous advance this is, and what a meaningful effect this will have on people’s lives,” said MOPD Commissioner Calise. “As a member of the de Blasio administration, I am truly proud of the time and effort we’ve put into creating this service – the first in our city’s history. It’s government at its most responsive and responsible.”
“It’s wonderful that citywide accessible dispatch is now available so we can get rides in the outer boroughs, too,” said Jean Ryan, VP for Public Affairs of Disabled In Action; Member of Taxis for ALL Campaign, and Brooklyn resident. “Hopefully in the future all cabs and for-hire vehicles will be wheelchair accessible to really achieve equal access for all.”
“The availability of WAV service beyond Manhattan has been long awaited by New Yorkers who use wheelchairs,” said Edith Prentiss, President of Disabled In Action; Member of Taxis for ALL Campaign. “We look forward to working with the vendor and the TLC to ensure every wheelchair user can travel independently with less than a 24-hour in advance reservation. Now let’s all throw our arms in the air!”
“MTM is honored to collaborate with TLC on an innovative initiative like the Accessible Dispatch Program,” said Crys Cooper, MTM’s Accessible Dispatch Program Director. “Our partnership has allowed us to expand the reach of the program to more passengers in all five boroughs, helping make New York City more accessible than ever before.”
The Accessible Dispatch program began in 2012 with 233 wheelchair-accessible taxicabs and capacity for Manhattan-only pick-ups. Since then, we have seen the fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) in the TLC’s regulated industries grow exponentially to almost 2,200 yellow taxis and over 200 green cabs — an increase of more than 900% over the past five years.
While making the city a more equitable place to live, work and visit, the Accessible Dispatch program will offer cab drivers greater economic opportunities through dispatched trips. While passengers always pay only the metered amount, roughly 2,300 unique drivers received dispatch payments of $10 or more per trip during the program’s beta launch period, over and above the metered fare.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was created in 1971, and is the agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of about 300,000 drivers, vehicles, and the businesses that operate and support those industries. It is recognized as the largest and most active taxi and for-hire vehicle regulatory body in the United States. To find out more about the TLC, or to review its rules, regulations and procedures, we encourage you to visit our official website at www.nyc.gov/tlc.