New York City’s fleet of wheelchair accessible cabs is about to grow by 200 after 200 wheelchair accessible taxi medallions were auctioned off for over $1 million a piece last Thursday. A taxi medallion is sort of like a license that allows taxis to be obtained and driven in Manhattan.
There are currently 233 accessible cabs and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, which auctioned off the medallions, expects to add 1,800 accessible taxis in the next three years.
“People in wheelchairs have historically had no access to the taxi and car service industry,” TLC Commissioner David Yassky. told the New York Post. “We’re finally changing that.”
The auction by the TLC adds 200 taxis to the current fleet of 233 accessible cabs, and the TLC plans to add 1,800 accessible taxis in the next three years. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind there are currently around 13,200 cabs in New York City.
More accessible cabs are always welcome, says James Weisman, general counsel for United Spinal. But access shouldn’t be seen as something special. “Requiring cabs to be accessible is like requiring them to put in meters or GPS systems or be hybrids,” he says, adding that he’s pleased the medallions maintained their value despite Mayor Bloomberg’s constant bashing of accessible taxis. “To me, this is very much like the situation during the early to mid 1960s when companies like Woolworths would not serve blacks at their lunch counters at Southern restaurants. When they were required to by law, the white business that they assumed would be lost was still there and so was new black business.”