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Wheelchair Users Get Snubbed By NYC Taxi Companies
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 28, 2003

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--If you are in New York City and need a wheelchair accessible taxi, you may have a hard time finding one. And if you do, you could expect to pay up to 10 times the fare of other riders.

A survey released Tuesday by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) found that only 47 of the city's 415 taxi companies provide vehicles that can transport wheelchair users.

Thirty of those 47 companies that did provide service to wheelchair users charged up to 10 times the rate than for riders without wheelchairs.

More than 30 percent of the total companies contacted by phone simply refused to pick up a passenger in a wheelchair.

Only 11 companies, which is just 3 percent of the total, would provide accessible vans equipped with ramps and would charge the same fare as for any other passenger.

"It's imperative that we find a way to provide people in wheelchairs with safe, prompt taxi service," said Weiner, who compiled the study.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission passed a regulation three years ago that required all cab companies to give wheelchair riders access to accessible vans. But the rule has been temporarily deferred since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"We could issue violations, but that won't ensure service," Commissioner Matthew Daus told the New York Post.

Daus said the agency is working on a plan under which the companies could buy their own vans or contract with others that do provide specially equipped vehicles.

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