A federal judge has ordered the city to increase the number of handicap-accessible taxis in its fleet, reports the New York Times.
The ruling throws into question the city’s plan to create a new class of livery cabs able to pick up street hails in Brooklyn and the other outer boroughs, which the Times reported on earlier this week. Under the new ruling, the city will be able to issue permits only for livery cabs that are wheelchair accessible—at least until the judge re-assesses the city's progress toward wider taxi access for the disabled.
The plan announced earlier this week would have created a new class of livery cabs with payment meters and credit card machines. Unlike existing car services, these cars would have had the legal right to pick up hailers on street corners in the outer boroughs. With yesterday’s ruling, however, the new class of cabs has been put on hold until the city can figure out a way to meet the new disability requirements.
The judge, George B. Daniels of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled that the city’s taxi fleet is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Meaningful access for the disabled to public transportation services is not a utopian goal or political promise,” the judge wrote. “It is a basic civil right.”
The city released a statement saying that it was disappointed by the ruling, and that it was considering an appeal.