The New York City-based United Spinal Association encourages wheelchair users in the metropolitan area, and any individual who uses a wheelchair or scooter while visiting the city, to call 311 to request a wheelchair-accessible taxi via a new central dispatch system.
United Spinal Association President and CEO Paul J. Tobin stated, "Our organization has been advocating for wheelchair-accessible taxis in New York since our members discovered them in other U.S. cities in the 1990's. As one of the lead groups in the New York City Taxis For All Campaign, our advocacy helped to achieve the language in the 2003 and 2006 city laws that required the 231 wheelchair-accessible taxis operating here."
As part of the program, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission selected United Spinal Association to train taxi drivers in disability etiquette and the proper ways to secure wheelchair devices in their vehicals.
United Spinal Association and the Taxis For All Campaign continue to press for a mandated, gradual conversion to accessible vehicals for the entire yellow taxi fleet.
The new Accessible Dispatch System was developed by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission as a two-year pilot program that tests dispatching technology, measures demand for wheelchair accessible vehicals and helps New York City determine how to best provide accessible taxi and livery services in the future.
The Accessible Dispatch System is for passengers who use wheelchairs os scooters only. The passenger calls 311 and asks to be connected to the Accessible Dispatch System. The dispatcher collects the passenger's pick-up location and communicates electronically with the driver of the wheelchair-accessible taxi closest to the location. The fare for an accessible cab trip is the same as the metered rates for all New York City yellow taxis.
Source: Wheelin' Sportsman Magazine, Winter/Spring 2009 Issue, Page 15.