New York, NY – Today, Federal Judge George B. Daniels issued his decision in the case Noel vs. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). During the trial, plaintiffs and the Department of Justice contended that the TLC failed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for wheelchair users. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York initiated their investigation and ultimately joined the suit at the request of Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (D- Upper East Side, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island).
This landmark decision stated that the TLC has been in violation of the ADA and must develop a court-approved plan that gives wheelchair users access to taxi and livery service. Until this plan is produced, all taxi medallions and livery permits sold must be for wheelchair accessible vehicles only.
Following the decision, Assembly Member Kellner issued the following statement:
“I stated from the beginning that the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. First the Justice Department agreed with me and now Judge Daniels has confirmed it. This decision ensures that there will be true accessibility in both yellow taxis and outer borough cabs. The city will not be allowed short change New Yorkers with disabilities in order to rush the sale of yellow medallions or livery street hail permits.”
“In the time since I initiated the Department of Justice's investigation back in March, Mayor Bloomberg and his Administration have not only continued to discriminate against wheelchair users, but have actually defended it. During the proceedings, the City claimed the Taxi and Limousine Commission has no obligation to provide any accessible taxis — not even the 232 currently on the road. As a person with a disability, I am deeply offended that what should be the most progressive city in the world has no problem with violating an individual’s civil rights.”
“Judge Daniels’ decision sends Mayor Bloomberg and his entire administration the clear message that the days of stranding people with disabilities on the curb are over. Now the City has no other option but to provide access to all New Yorkers, whether they are on two feet or four wheels.”