The population in New York is so large that it can often be difficult for able bodied individuals to walk down the street…so imagine what it must be like for those that live their lives in wheelchairs.
Well, recent developments in the Big Apple might make it much easier for the wheelchair bound to make their way around town. Recently, the Taxi and Limousine Commission considered a ruling that would make roughly half of all New York Yellow Taxis wheelchair accessible by the year 2020.
As it stands, the vast majority of taxis in New York will not stop for people in wheelchairs, mainly because they are not equipped for it. In fact, only 400 of the estimated 13,000 taxis in New York are wheelchair accessible.
While the ruling would be historic, it is worth noting that London started making their taxis wheelchair accessible in the late 80s; similarly, New York’s buses became wheelchair accessible in the mid 80s. So while there are public transportation options for those in wheelchairs, they have never quite had the same options and conveniences as everyone else.
Supporters of this idea often back up their already sensible arguments with the fact that wheelchair accessible taxis could financially benefit the city. Programs such as Access-a-Ride, MTA, and others cost the city somewhere around $500 million annually.
That figure could be cut drastically once the city implements wheelchair accessible taxis.
It is also pointed out that these wheelchair accessible taxis will not result in taking normal taxis off of the road. They will be slowly phased in as older and less reliable taxis are retired.
This is a solution that makes perfect sense, providing the convenience of taxis for those in wheelchairs while also helping to cut costs for the city.
Coming to a Town Near You
While New York has a plan to make this transition, some cities have already begun to make the transition at a more rapid pace; Chicago is one of those cities to be exact.
It looks like this trend is spreading quickly across the nation, and soon will be standard practice, but why has it taken so long you ask? I’m sure there is not good answer, but I guess instead of dwelling in the past, it’s best to look to the future, and the future seems bright.