April 21, 2010
And you thought it was hard to hail a cab if you’re African-American! (I know, bad, overgeneralized stereotype–perhaps not an inaccurate one— but there’s a point here, I promise).
It’s worse if you’re in a wheelchair since, even if one were to stop, 98% of them aren’t designed to accommodate wheelchairs anyway.
The New York Times reports on a report about wheelchair-accessible hired transportation. This includes cabs and also for-hire rides that you call to pick you up.
It turns out that most of the for-hire rides are subcontracted out. And while the for-hire companies are prohibited from charging riders more for using a wheelchair, the subcontractors are not prohibited from charging the livery company more.
The end result being that it is really, really hard to get a ride in New York if you have a disability. And the agency responsible for enforcing the pertinent rules/laws/policies hasn’t been doing so.
That’s not to say it’s all bad news. You can call 311 from anywhere in New York City and get an accessible taxi to come pick you up. The 311 service is exactly the sort of accommodation that I’m talking about when I get all soapboxy on society being accommodating toward people with disabilities. It’s something that is functional and practical for people without disabilities, too.
Design note after the jump.