Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Chairman and Commissioner David S. Yassky and Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo today announced the federal appeals court ruling that the TLC is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The case, Noel v. TLC, was a class-action suit brought by people who use wheelchairs in New York City and argued that TLC is violating the ADA by not requiring more taxi owners to use wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The unanimous decision found in the City’s favor to determine that “nothing in the TLC’s administration of the licensing program discriminates against persons with disabilities” and also noted that it is the private taxi industry “that fails to afford meaningful access.” Today’s decision was delivered by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The Court correctly found that nothing in the ADA compels the City to require that taxis be wheelchair accessible,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This ruling is consistent with common sense and the practical needs of both the taxi industry and the disabled, and we will continue our efforts to assist disabled riders.”
“We have consistently said that the TLC’s practices are in no way discriminatory and are eager to move forward with our program,” said TLC Commissioner/Chair David Yassky. “This does not diminish our continuing commitment to enhancing transportation options for persons with disabilities and we look forward to working with the disability advocacy community to implement the progressive programs already in motion.”
“The court correctly found that the federal ADA does not impose an obligation on the TLC to require wheelchair accessibility simply because the City regulates the private taxicab industry,” said Corporation Counsel Cardozo.
The case was argued by Corporation Counsel Cardozo of the New York City Law Department on April 19, 2012. In its decision, the Court today said: “Although only 231 medallions are conditioned on wheelchair accessibility, none of the medallions issued by the TLC prohibits any medallion owner from operating an accessible taxi.” It also noted that the ADA “does not obligate the TLC to use its licensing and regulatory authority over the New York City taxi industry to require the taxi owners provide meaningful access to taxis for persons with disabilities.”
Law Department attorneys working on the Noel v. TLC case include Ronald Sternberg, Robin Binder, Michelle Goldberg-Cahn and Gabriel Taussig. TLC attorneys include Meera Joshi, Chris Wilson and Aileen Fox.