It may get a lot easier to secure an Uber ride in the Big Apple if a July 12 policy proposed by New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission goes through. The proposed accessibility rules, which are to be reviewed at a public hearing in September, would require all for-hire vehicles to dispatch a certain percentage of their rides in accessible vehicles regardless of whether the ride request is coming from a person with a disability.
“In a demand-based system, low public demand would result in accessible vehicles basically sitting against the wall awaiting use, and as a result they would be less well-maintained, so that even when they are needed, they won’t necessarily be road-ready. Our approach keeps them in constant circulation, and always ready to roll,” says Allan Fromberg, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which owns and operates nearly 2,000 accessible vehicles in the city.
The proposed plan will see the percentage of rides that must be accepted by accessible vehicles increase by 5 percent over the next four years, starting at 10 percent in 2018 and increasing in 5 percent increments until arriving at 25 percent in 2021.
“We think it’s a good step, but we’re obviously looking closely at the proposal to see if there are ways of making it stronger,” says Joseph Rappaport, executive director of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, one of the plaintiffs in a July 18 class action accessibility lawsuit filed against Uber by Disability Rights Advocates. “Uber and other transportation providers have really made it their business not to provide accessible transportation and we really think that the TLC has finally done a good job to prevent this kind of discrimination.”