Wheelchair users in the city’s outer boroughs will be able to more easily access wheelchair-accessible cabs as the city expanded its Accessible Dispatch program on Wednesday.
The program, which previously was only available in Manhattan, allows users to call, text or e-hail accessible yellow or green cabs. Riders only pay the metered fare, but the drivers receive $10 in dispatch payments, according to the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.
“Where we go and how we get there is an essential part of the New York City experience,” TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi said in a statement. “People with disabilities face many daunting transportation obstacles in getting to work, shopping, seeing friends — just everyday living — and our city suffers for it both economically and on an equity basis. This new citywide program is there to remove some of those obstacles and make a real difference in some people’s lives.”
The dispatch program was launched in 2012 with 233 accessible cabs in Manhattan. Currently, according to the TLC, there are more than 2,000 green and yellow wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Accessibility advocates have said they like the program, but voiced skepticism that the city could maintain its level of service with the expansion. Some have called for the TLC to incorporate companies like Uber and Lyft.
In November, the MTA launched a e-hail pilot for a select group of 200 paratransit riders, which lets them electronically hail accessible yellow or green taxicabs on demand — similar to the business models of Uber and Lyft.