FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCE EXPANSION OF WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE AND ALTERNATIVE FUEL AND HYBRID TAXIS
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Taxi & Limousine Commissioner/Chair Matthew W. Daus and Council Member John Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee, today announced that they have reached an agreement to significantly increase the number of wheelchair accessible and alternative fuel taxi medallions on New York City's streets. Tomorrow, the City Council will vote on Intro 339-A, legislation that will allow for the current sale of 254 alternative-fuel taxi medallions and 54 wheelchair accessible taxi medallions. The legislation will also establish that at least 150 medallions will be earmarked for disabled accessible vehicles at next medallion sale,
"I am proud to partner with the Council to increase the number of hybrid, alternative fuel and wheelchair accessible taxis," said Mayor Bloomberg. "All New Yorkers deserve access to our City's yellow cabs and increasing the number of hybrid and alternative fuel taxis means cleaner air and greater energy independence."
"While we support the Mayor's call to make our City more environmentally-friendly, it's also important that taxi cabs are accessible to as many New Yorkers as possible," said Speaker Quinn. "By working together with the Mayor's Office, the State Assembly and State Senate, we will go from 27 wheelchair accessible taxis to 231. We have a responsibility to make sure that all New Yorkers, especially individuals with disabilities and senior citizens, can get around town easily. By adding 204 wheelchair accessible taxis this year, we are taking a step toward our ultimate goal of making every taxi in New York wheelchair accessible."
Following this year's medallion sale, the City Council and the Administration will work with members of the State Assembly and State Senate to fast track the sale of an additional 150 wheelchair accessible taxi medallions, and will get those vehicles on the streets in the coming months. In total, the City will increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis to 231 from 27 and the number of alternative fuel taxis to 273 from 19 this year.
"Our goal has always been to provide a level of service that meets the expectations of all New Yorkers," said Commissioner Daus. "While we have taken purposeful steps toward that goal over the last several years, the Administration's actions today represent unprecedented progress that will have a truly positive effect on people's lives, and we are excited at the prospect of accomplishing this."
"We should do everything possible to give people who use wheelchairs and scooters the same ability to get around town as everyone else," said Councilmember Liu. "This bill is a good step forward towards that objective and will greatly increase the number of taxicabs that are accessible to wheelchair users. More importantly, this bill also helps us gather the information we need to expand the mandate for accessible taxicabs in the near future."
Stu Loeser / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Maria Alvarado (Council) (212) 788-7117