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City dispatches hundreds of taxis per week for disabled passengers: TLC

A wheelchair-friendly taxi is shown at the 2012

A wheelchair-friendly taxi is shown at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The city sends out 740 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs on average a week to passengers, the Taxi and Limousine Commission said Wednesday.

Its dispatch program -- where disabled passengers in Manhattan call, text or use an app to hail an accessible ride -- has given more than 70,000 trips since Sept. 2012.

"It took time to get there," said the agency's commissioner Meera Joshi. "There were versions of accessible dispatch that were not successful, but we've learned from our mistakes and we've created a program that is far more successful than its predecessor."

Passengers request a cab through the app, Wheels on Wheels, almost 260 times a month, the TLC said. The agency wants the dispatch program to reach the entire city by early 2016, and began searching for a vendor to expand it in May. There are currently 581 wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs, and 1219 green cabs. The TLC wants half of the yellow cab fleet to be accessible by 2020, and at least 40% of green cabs by 2024.

The city's Department of Transportation said it wants wheelchair-friendly taxis to complement the MTA's Access-a-Ride service.

"We're trying to up our game on that," said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who sits on the MTA board, during a city-sponsored expo on accessible transportation options.

The MTA spent $465 million in 2014 on Access-a-Ride, and has been experimenting with using cab vouchers to save the program money.

The DOT also noted that the city has doubled its budget for sidewalk repair, from $20 million to $46 million, and has built a 1000 new pedestrian ramps in the 18 months.


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