Taxi of Tomorrow? More like taxi of yesterday according to some New Yorkers

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Despite the opposition, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky says the Taxi of Tomorrow will roll out as planned later this year.

But with a lack of a hybrid option and no requirements for accessible vehicles, many are already calling it the taxi of yesterday. And some say the way the Taxi and Limousine Commission is handling the situation is worse than a midtown traffic jam.

“Gasoline costs a lot of money today and hybrid vehicles save drivers a ton of money. Instead of paying $50 a day for the larger gasoline vehicles, they’re paying $13 a day,” said David Pollack, head of the Taxi Safety Commission.

Pollack says the TLC led the charge to convert taxis to hybrid vehicles by 2012.  So he says the fact that the city chose a Nissan car without a hybrid option as the Taxi of Tomorrow is laughable.

“It’s another case of ‘we know what’s best for you, we’re shoving it down your throat, and we don’t care.'”

But Pollack isn’t the only one who’s frustrated by the antiquated automobiles.

Disability Rights Advocates say the TLC had a golden opportunity to make taxi service available to the over 170,000 wheelchair users in New York City. And based on the model they chose, DSA says the city has a requirement to make it accessible to everyone.

In a statement a spokesperson told PIX11, “As a van, the Taxi of Tomorrow must be accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Taxi and Limousine Commission has chosen to affirmatively discriminate against persons with disabilities by selecting an inaccessible vehicle and by perpetuating that discrimination for the next decade.”

Native New Yorker Danny Delany agrees.  He says it’s a struggle for any one in a wheelchair to catch a cab. Now that we have the technology, Delany says it only makes sense to use it.

“It doesn’t make sense that anything “of tomorrow” wouldn’t be accessible,” Delany said.

While industry groups, drivers, and riders seem to agree that there are several issues with the Taxi of Tomorrow, accessibility remains a hot button issue that many disagree on.

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