TLC Commissioner Speaks
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) in January officially launched its expanded Accessible Dispatch program, offering passengers a convenient, user-friendly way to request a wheelchair-accessible taxicab throughout the five boroughs. The program, which had been limited to pick-ups in Manhattan, fulfills the TLC’s promised expansion of the popular program’s pick-up service area.
After finalizing an exhaustive selection process, the TLC’s chosen dispatch service provider, Medical Transportation Management (MTM), beta-tested the service starting in September, under the TLC’s careful scrutiny. To date, the system has successfully provided over 1,100 wheelchair accessible taxi rides to passengers hailing from borough neighborhoods like Riverdale, East New York and Dongan Hills.
“Accessible transportation is truly accessible when it’s widely available to those who may need it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This five-borough expansion marks another important step in the mission to make New York a fairer city, ensuring transportation means to more riders who often struggle to find a reliable and convenient way to get around.”
“Where we go and how we get there is an essential part of the New York City experience,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. “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.”
“As an advocate and as a person who uses a wheelchair, I know what a tremendous advance this is, and what a meaningful effect this will have on people’s lives,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). “As a member of the de Blasio administration, I am truly proud of the time and effort we’ve put into creating this service – the first in our city’s history. It’s government at its most responsive and responsible.”
“The availability of WAV service beyond Manhattan has been long awaited by New Yorkers who use wheelchairs,” said Edith Prentiss, President of Disabled In Action; Member of Taxis for ALL Campaign. “We look forward to working with the vendor and the TLC to ensure every wheelchair user can travel independently with less than a 24-hour in advance reservation.”
“MTM is honored to collaborate with TLC on an innovative initiative like the Accessible Dispatch Program,” said Crys Cooper, MTM’s Accessible Dispatch Program Director. “Our partnership has allowed us to expand the reach of the program to more passengers in all five boroughs, helping make New York City more accessible than ever before.”
Riders can request a ride using any one of the following methods:
• Call the Accessible Dispatch center directly at (646)-599-9999
• Use the Accessible Dispatch mobile app (available on the iTunes App Store
or in Google Play)
• Book online at www.accessibledispatch.com
Accessible Dispatch then sends the closest available Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) to
the pick-up location. Riders receive a confirmation from the Accessible Dispatcher that includes the taxi number, making it easier to find their driver. The Dispatcher may also communicate with riders directly, if the driver has trouble finding their passenger.
When the vehicle arrives, drivers provide assistance in helping riders use the vehicle’s ramp, as needed. They also secure riders using the vehicle’s wheelchair securement system. Upon reaching their destination, the driver helps riders exit the vehicle and get safely to the curb.
MOPD Commissioner Victor Calise reflected on the dispatch program
The Accessible Dispatch program began in 2012 with 233 wheelchair-accessible taxicabs and capacity for Manhattan-only pick-ups. Since then, the fleet of WAVs in the TLC’s regulated industries has grown to almost 2,200 yellow taxis and over 200 green cabs – an increase of more than 900% in five years.