New York City adding more wheelchair accessible vehicles to its taxicab network
In this modern age, you would like to think that the cities of the world have taken into account, at least to some degree, the needs of their disabled and wheelchair dependant inhabitants when organising their products and services. In London for example, we saw in 2012 that the whole of the city's taxicab network was accessible to the motability user.
Sadly this has not been a model adopted by cities the world over, in fact it was reported that taxicab network of New York, arguably the most famous city of them all, had only two percent of disabled access cars in 2013.
Happily though this is a statistic that it is to be changed after an announcement from the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission that it has agreed to make half of its network wheelchair accessible by 2020, which a some task for the city to undertake.
It has already taken one or two early steps toward this target with the recent announcement that it is adding a further 147 MV-1, purpose built, wheelchair accessible taxicabs to its fleet, bringing the figure 400 overall in its overall paratransit fleet of 2000 vehicles. Not only will replacing the existing small vans with specially designed accessible taxicabs make life easier for the wheelchair user, it also has benefits for the city, saving millions of dollars due to the MV-1's vastly superior fuel economy. The MV-1 also needs less maintenance work compared to the small vans that it is taking the place of, which again helps to boost the city's coffers.
This latest move is a sign of the continued commitment of New York city to bring its fleet up to scratch and will hopefully serve as both a guide and a jolt to other major metropolitan areas around the world that this is the direction that we should all be heading in. It certainly offers hope that one day every city out there will be as easily navigable by a wheelchair user as it is for a fully able bodied person. Let's hope other cities follow suit sooner rather than later.