man in wheelchair with hands over face sitting in front of Uber sign

United Spinal Association congratulates New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio for passing legislation that will place a one-year cap on the number of new vehicle licenses for rideshare vehicles — unless they are wheelchair accessible.

“Rideshare companies have ignored the needs and rights of wheelchair users even as the City required yellow cabs to become accessible,” said James Weisman, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.

The legislation passed by the City Council addresses growing concerns of worsening traffic congestion. The legislation also sets a minimum wage for drivers of these vehicles.

“There are currently 70,000 Uber vehicles operating in New York City, clogging the streets, polluting the air and leaving wheelchair users by the curb,” added Weisman.

In 2014, United Spinal Association, along with other disability groups reached a settlement agreement with the City of New York and its Taxi and Limousine Commission that requires half of the City’s 13,500 yellow cabs to be wheelchair accessible by 2020.

Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies have forced over 1,000 Yellow Cabs to come off the road, impacting the independence and quality of life of wheelchair users and other people with disabilities in New York City.

“The accessible Yellow Cab fleet was shrinking due to Uber’s competitive edge, until now,” said Weisman.

United Spinal has committed a good part of its advocacy efforts to ensuring New Yorkers with disabilities have access to the same basic transportation options as everyone else.

The organization has repeatedly called for Uber to address the lack of accessibility of its growing fleet of vehicles, lobbying New York legislators to keep wheelchair users in mind as they consider Uber’s proposed expansion across the state.