In a letter sent today to the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island) has called for an investigation of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to determine if they have been willfully disregarding the wheelchair accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
According to Title II of the ADA, all vans with a capacity of fewer than 8 persons must be ‘readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities including individuals who use wheelchairs.’ Kellner points to the fact that of the approximately 1,400 Toyota Sienna Minivans on the streets of New York, less than 150 are wheelchair accessible.
“It is unfortunate in the most progressive city in the world that, once again, we must turn to the Justice Department to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are enforced,” said Assembly Member Kellner. “The Taxi and Limousine Commission doesn’t get to pick and choose which laws they’re going to abide by.”
Furthermore the letter outlines that two of the three finalists for the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’, the TLC’s contest to pick New York City’s new iconic taxi, do not meet the ADA’s requirements. Neither the Ford Transit Connect nor the Nissan NV 200, both vans, is manufactured to provide wheelchair accessibility and the TLC is not requiring these manufacturers modify their vehicles to do so in order to be selected as the Taxi of Tomorrow.
Assembly Member Kellner is the prime sponsor of legislation (A.4406) that requires all taxis will be replaced by wheelchair accessible vehicles beginning in 2013.