50,0000 Accessible Cabs Ordered Through New App
The city’s handicapped-accessible taxi program, where wheelchair and scooter-bound passengers can order yellow cabs using a smartphone, has been a success with more than 50,000 people taking advantage of the service is it’s first year and a half, according to data obtained by The Post.
That’s more than 150 a day and other cities like San Francisco and Chicago are studying New York’s system to better tailor their fleets to disabled passengers.
“They’re blown away,” said Victor Calise, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities. “Others cities are moving toward this model.”
The taxi dispatch program launched a year and a half ago, and wait times continue to plunge as more accessible cabs hit city streets. Users of the program can also order an accessible cab through text message, the website, or calling directly.
Currently, more than 600 accessible taxis serve wheelchair-bound New Yorkers — up from 231 cabs when the program launched in 2012.
“It’s making a very real difference in people’s lives,” said TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi.
That number is only expected to increase after a landmark court settlement last December pushed the city to convert half its fleet into accessible taxis by 2020.
Mark Stecker, who writes the blog Wheelchair Kamikaze and has multiple sclerosis, says more accessible taxis have given him more freedom . “[It] has really been a game changer for me,” he said.
Though all city buses are wheelchair accessible, many subway stations can’t accommodate wheelchairs.
“We certainly should have equal opportunities at getting cabs,” said advocate Edith Prentiss. “I’m not saying things are perfect, but it’s an improvement.”
Cabbies are reimbursed for the time they spend traveling to pick up handicapped passengers.
Naomi Torrisi, who started using the service to help her 96-year-old mother to travel to doctor’s appointments, was the 50,000th passenger.
“The cabs have been comfortable and state of the art,” she said.
Download the app here