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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Taxis New York City Style

I hope Mayor Bloomberg sees this video. This is an accurate assessment of the taxi situation in New York City. A person that uses a manual wheelchair has a chance to hail and enter a cab in the city. It is not easy but possible. A person that uses a power wheelchair is screwed as this video shows. I rarely take cabs in NYC. When I do I have a friend hail the cab--a friend that is bipedal and well dressed. I hide between two parked cars. When I emerge from between the parked cars my friend opens the rear door and then moves to stand in front of the cab so he cannot drive off. The result is I am able to ride in a taxi with a driver that will either be silent the enter time or will berate me the entire drive. Yes, this happens. This is why I use the MTA bus service which is reliable, though slow, and the majority of drivers polite and actually know how to use the lift. Still you would think I should be able to hail a cab like I do in many other cities across the country. Mayor Bloomberg should be ashamed--ashamed he is knowingly violating the law. If the Taxi of Tomorrow that he is backing with all the power he can muster is put in use I know I will not be able to use a NYC taxi for the next decade or more.       


Erica said...

I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia and there are only four wheelchair accessible taxis. What percentage of Haligonions (nickname for people who live in Halifax) are in wheelchairs, I do not know. But one driver that I always call upon, has over 200 regular customers and the Access-A-Bus has 1800 registered users, though not all of them are in wheelchairs.

Here's the rundown. The guy I call on always guarantees a round trip if you need it. He charges for the trip there and for the trip back. It is a little more expensive (about an extra two or three dollars) for each trip because the meter starts when you are being loaded and is not shut off until you are out of the vehicle.

The second driver lives on the outskirts of the city and is, therefore, less available. He does not guarantee round trips, meaning he may be able to take you somewhere or take you back home but not both. In twelve years, I have only taken three or four rides with him because of this.

As for the other two, I have never had a ride with them. I have a choice. Book them for a solid hour, hour and a half or two hours or more depending on how long my outing is or take my chances. By taking my chances I mean that if I call for a wheelchair accessible cab, I may have quite a wait, especially if both of them are on an airport run. They provide airport service which is a 45 minute drive one way or 1 1/2 hours both ways. If I'm lucky to get a ride to my destination, I may have a very long wait to get back home. I may luck out and one of the two will be nearby or I may have to wait up to 90 minutes or longer.

If I don't want to wait, I can book them for a period of time. For example, if I want to go to the grocery store, this takes me 90 minutes. The taxi driver will drop me off and just wait until I'm done and not take any calls. If he did, then he might not be there when I'm done. In order to compensate for lost calls while they are waiting for me, these two drivers would charge $27.50 an hour (the minimum), or $41.25 for 90 minutes or $55.00 for two hours.

william Peace said...

Erica, There is a reason why the most often referred to quote from the Supreme Court is "separate is inherently unequal". The reference here is to Brown v. Board of Education that ended segregation in schools. The same can be said about any para transit service. Service is inferior. In the NYC area we have Access-A-Ride. I call it Distress-A-Ride. The point being it is in the best interests of the state to provide inferior para transit service. Imagine if the system was efficient and inexpensive. All eligible would use the service making it too expensive to operate.

Becs said...

Ironically, this taxi was being shown off with much pride at the Abilities Expo this weekend.

william Peace said...

Becs, Not a fan of the Ability Expo. Free advertising for Braun. Not my favorite company.

Emil Novélo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emil Novélo said...

May 10 NYC Taxi & Limo Commisser David Yassky restarts a wheelchair-accessible dispatch that was piloted and discontinued:

Sizzling LEO said...

The ease of booking a taxi now is such that one can even find cabs and taxis using the Iphone. There are I phone apps available that let you find a taxi within your area and also tell you about the shortest route available from your current location to your destination.

cab service