The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) recently launched a new dispatch service that allows passengers to order accessible taxis around the clock, 365 days of the year. This service, which is operated by Connecticut-based Metro Taxi, will provide on-demand dispatch of the 233 New York City accessible taxi cabs to locations within Manhattan. To use the service, passengers can call 311, contact the dispatch center at (646) 599-9999, text a request to (646) 400-0789 or visit www.nycaccessibledispatch.org.
A free app — Wheels on Wheels — also allows passengers to order an accessible taxi and track it as it makes its way to the pickup location. It is available at the iTunes app store at itunes.apple.com/us/app/wow-taxi/id541728529?mt=8.
Although the new system will relieve some of the difficulty of trying to find an accessible taxi on the streets of New York, disability advocates don’t consider it a permanent solution. With just 2% of the fleet being accessible, they’d like to see more accessible cabs on the road. The also feel it’s inequitable, as able-bodied passengers can hail a cab in five minutes, but the cabs ordered through the accessible dispatch system are expected to take at least 20 minutes to arrive. As Joe Rappaport of Taxis for All puts it, “Offering an accessible dispatch is a separate and unequal service”.