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January 08, 2009

Accessible Taxi Service for Wheelchair Users in New York City

United-spinal

The United Spinal Association (www.UnitedSpinal.org) encourages wheelchair and scooter users in the New York City metropolitan area to call 311 to request a wheelchair-accessible taxi via the new Accessible Dispatch Program.

This system links passengers who use wheelchairs with accessible vehicles through a central dispatcher. Residents and visitors to NYC can call 311 for a pre-arranged service. 311 connects the passenger to a dispatcher who collects the passenger's pick-up location and communicates electronically with participating drivers. The closest available driver accepts the dispatch and picks up the passenger.

The fare for an accessible cab trip is the same as the metered rates for all New York City yellow taxis. The Accessible Dispatch System is for passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters only.

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 1990s. 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 this program, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission selected United Spinal Association to train taxi drivers in proper use of wheelchair securement devices and disability etiquette.

United Spinal Association and the Taxis For All Campaign continue to press for a mandated, gradual conversion to accessible vehicles for the entire yellow taxi fleet.

The new "Accessible Dispatch System" was developed by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission as a two-year pilot program that tests dispatching technology, measures demand for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and helps New York City determine how to best provide accessible taxi and livery service in the future.

About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post polio. It has played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

    Media contacts:

    Ahvi Spindell                                   Jim Weisman
    Media Relations Services                 United Spinal Association
    (212) 580-4567                               (718) 803-3782, ext. 308
    aspin4eiscom@aol.com                   jweisman@unitedspinal.org


SOURCE The United Spinal Association

 http://www.UnitedSpinal.org



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