New York City – While the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission announced its proposed new rules changes to lease cap laws governing taxicabs, New York State Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (D, WFP – Upper East Side/Yorkville/Roosevelt Island) once again asked why the TLC is putting its goal for a 100% hybrid taxi fleet before the creation of a 100% accessible fleet.
Under the proposed rules changes, medallion owners who purchase hybrid vehicles will be able to charge $15 more per shift than those who purchase non-hybrids and $3 more than those who choose to purchase accessible vehicles. The goal of this rule’s amendment is to encourage taxi fleet owners to purchase TLC approved hybrid models over Crown Victorias and other low gas mileage options – like accessible minivans.
While he supports the idea of a more environmentally friendly taxi fleet, Kellner asked why this had to come at the expense of accessibility for people with disabilities to this branch of the mass transit system.
“Once again, the TLC has decided that the environment is more important than accessibility,” Kellner said. “I urge the TLC to even the financial playing field for both types of vehicles and to implement equal lease cap incentives, so owners can make a real choice based on the merits between whether they want to employ accessible or hybrid vehicles.”
Kellner added that by opening up the new lease cap proposal to include accessible taxis encouraged fleet owners to purchase new accessible vehicles or hybrid vehicles, paving the way for if not a completely green and accessible fleet, a fleet of taxis which are either one or the other.
“It is bad public policy for New York City to prioritize the Administration’s environmental concerns over the transportation needs of people with disabilities,” Kellner said. “I hope that the TLC takes my ideas under serious consideration before finalizing their proposal.”