Chris Noel’s fight for accessible taxis in New York City began after he realized people weren’t having their voices heard. Noel, a Harlem resident and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city, says the issue is about convenience. He says it isn’t fair for him to wait when someone without a wheelchair can catch a taxi very easily.
Noel is disappointed the city is skirting the ADA by claiming their accessible taxi (Nissan MV-200) is a minivan. ADA regulations state that vans used for public transportation must be wheelchair accessible. Noel doesn’t think the Taxi of Tomorrow fits the bill for customers with mobility impairments. “If you say tomorrow isn’t going to have seniors and people with disabilities, then the Taxi of Tomorrow is the taxi of yesteryear,” Noel says. He expects more legal wrangling when the MV-200 hits the street.
London and Las Vegas have made large strides with regard to taxi accessibility. Noel says Mayor Bloomberg missed an opportunity to become a champion for accessibility. He’s puzzled why the city is neglecting accessible transportation when the demand will only grow. “There’s never going to be an end of people with disabilities or seniors until there’s a cure, so why not prepare for the future?” Noel says.