Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Assembly Member Micah Kellner have called on the Taxi and Limousine Commission to vote down the Taxi of Tomorrow because it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a letter to TLC board members, de Blasio and Kellner warned that the failure to select an accessible vehicle could lead to legal challenges, expensive retrofits or new vehicles being taken off the road altogether. The officials are longstanding critics of Nissan’s selection for the $1 billion franchise.
Read the full letter below:
September 20, 2012
Board of Commissioners of the Taxi and Limousine Commission
City of New York
33 Beaver Street
New York, NY 10004
Dear Chairman Yassky and Members of the Taxi and Limousine Commission:
We are writing to express our opposition to the continuation of the Taxi of Tomorrow initiative using the Nissan NV 200 as the selected model, and request that you withdraw your vote on the rules, or vote no, to continuing with the Nissan NV-200. In March of 2011, the City of New York selected the Nissan NV-200 as the winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow competition without requiring that these new vehicles be built or modified to meet standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act for wheelchair accessibility and stated that their proposed accessible central dispatch program will fulfill the equivalent service standard as defined by the ADA.
The likely violation of Titles II and III of the ADA by the Taxi and Limousine Commission in their selection of this particular vehicle as the Taxi of Tomorrow will create many problems for the City of New York as well as for individual taxi medallion owners. The TLC acknowledged as much by warning Toyota Sienna taxi drivers that there was a possibility that the Justice Department would force them to make their vehicles compliant or take them off the road.
If Nissan NV-200 drivers will face the choice of taking their cars off the road or making them accessible, many drivers will not be able to do their job, resulting in lost revenue for New York City businesses and lost jobs for New Yorkers. This comes on top of the City selecting a bid that did not contain a plan to create jobs in New York City despite the large contract awarded to the company.
The Justice Department and the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York are aware of the potential and somewhat involved legal issues New York City now faces because of the selection of the Nissan NV-200, and we have enclosed relevant correspondence with this letter.
We strongly urge the TLC and the city administration to vote no on a measure to move forward with the Nissan NV-200 as the next generation of New York City taxicabs. This will be best for all stakeholders on this issue: the customers that TLC serves, the workers that earn their living as taxi drivers, and the people of the City of New York who deserve a government that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York
NYS Assembly Member