Provides improved access to taxi cabs for persons with disabilities.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general municipal law, in relation to providing for improved access to taxicabs for persons with disabilities
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To require that by 2012 all new taxis in New York city are fully accessible to people with disabilities.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Amends the general municipal law:
- provides a definition for "accessible taxicab";
- Requires that by December 31, 2012, in cities with a population of one million or more, the locality will adopt ordinances to provide that, by June 30, 2013, no taxicab owner will put a taxicab into service that is not an accessible taxicab;
- Provides a definition for "assistive listening system";
- Requires the Commissioner of Transportation to promulgate rules, regulations, and standards necessary to effect this act;
-Act taking effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: It is a matter of fairness and in spirit with the principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act that all residents and visitors to New York city are afforded equal access to all modes of transportation.
New York city is home to one of the largest taxi fleets in the world, and while New Yorkers and tourists hailing a taxicab is a common sight, this mode of transportation, virtually synonymous with the New York city experience, is not accessible to all.
An estimated 60,000 wheelchair-users live in New York city, but only 238 of the 13,000 medallion yellow cabs (less than 2%) are able to accommodate a wheelchair passenger. Even fewer livery vehicles and limousines are accessible for wheelchair customers. This inequity is an every day really for wheelchair users who are often left stranded without access to a key element of New York city's transportation infrastructure. The remaining modes of transportation available to wheelchair users are far from perfect. While New York City Transit buses are wheelchair accessible, only 67 out of 468 of the subway stations are accessible to wheelchair users. In this most basic of ways New York City lags behind other
comparable cities, like London, England, which has maintained a 100% wheelchair accessible taxi fleet since 1989.
This bill requires that all new taxicabs be equipped with a lift and ramp that allows for the safe transport of wheelchair users and scooters.
Over 300,000 New Yorkers are estimated to be blind or of low vision. For these individuals, consistency is the key to accessibility. So when credit card machines, for instance, are in different locations within a vehicle's cab or are designed differently, this is a barrier to service for low-vision or blind individuals. Similarly, if a taxicab does not have enough floor space to accommodate a service animal, an individual traveling with one is not able to ride. Also, because many hybrid vehicles make far less noise than conventional gasoline-powered cars, many people of low-vision or blind individuals are unable to hear these vehicles approach, creating a hazardous situation. Another problem exists in relation to signage. In 1997, New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission ordered all taxicabs to have Braille signage that provides the taxi's medallion number, the word "complaints," and a customer service telephone number located in a consistent location. Unfortunately, signage relating to the rights of taxi cab consumers and fare schedules are not provided in Braille and generally the font size for all of these signs is very small, making it difficult for people who are of low vision to read. This bill requires that taxicabs are compliant with standard technology (with an exception for the testing of pilot programs for new systems), provide sufficient floor space for a service animal, require that hybrid-powered taxicabs are outfitted with a device that enables the blind or low vision individuals to hear the vehicle approach, and provides for large-print and Braille signage.
Approximately 10% of the U.S. population has some form of hearing loss, putting the estimated number of New York City residents who are deaf or hard of hearing at just under one million people. For these individuals it is commonly difficult to communicate with the taxicab driver about their destination, their preferred route, or to converse about the fare and payment. This bill requires that new taxicabs be fitted with an assistive listening system so that people who use a hearing aid can be connected to an intercom, video, or audio system.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.4861A/A.7842A (Died in Senate Local Government/Died in Assembly Third Reading) 2009: S.4861A/A.7842A (Died in Senate Local Government/Died in Assembly Cities)
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1231--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 6, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. DUANE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- recom- mitted to the Committee on Local Government in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to providing for improved access to taxicabs for persons with disabilities THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 181 of the general municipal law, as amended by chapter 579 of the laws of 1993, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 430 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: S 181. Ordinances to regulate taxicabs and limousines. 1. The munici- pal officers and boards in the several cities, towns and villages of this state now having the authority to enact ordinances, may adopt ordi- nances regulating:
[1.](A) The registration and licensing of taxicabs and may limit the number of taxicabs to be licensed and the county of Westchester may adopt ordinances regulating the registration and licensing of taxicabs and limousines and may limit the number to be licensed; and the county of Nassau may adopt ordinances regulating the registration of taxicabs and limousines. [2.](B) Parking and passenger pick-up and discharge by taxicabs, limousines and livery vehicles. Establishment of such ordinances and regulations regulating parking and passenger pick-up and discharges may be based upon recommendations from municipal planning officials or other public entities and may address and take into consideration such factors, including, but not limited to, geographic areas, vehicle type, limiting the number of parked vehicles and activities undertaken while parked, and periods of idling.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01099-02-2 S. 1231--A 2
2. THE MUNICIPAL OFFICERS AND BOARDS IN ANY CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF MORE THAN ONE MILLION SHALL NO LATER THAN DECEMBER THIRTY-FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN ADOPT ORDINANCES PROVIDING: (A) THAT "ACCESSIBLE TAXICAB" SHALL MEAN ANY VEHICLE THAT (1) IS EQUIPPED WITH A LIFT, RAMP, OR ANY OTHER DEVICE, ARRANGEMENT OR ALTERATION, SO IT IS CAPABLE OF TRANSPORTING PERSONS WITH PHYSICAL DISA- BILITIES, INCLUDING THOSE WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS, SCOOTERS AND SIMILAR DEVICES WHILE THEY REMAIN SEATED IN THEIR WHEELCHAIRS, SCOOTERS OR SIMI- LAR DEVICES; (2) COMPLIES WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH IN REGULATIONS PROMUL- GATED UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT AND CODIFIED AT 49 C.F.R. SECTIONS 38.23, 38.25 AND 38.31, AS AMENDED, WHETHER OR NOT THOSE REGULATIONS WOULD APPLY UNDER FEDERAL LAW; (3) IS EQUIPPED WITH AN ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEM FOR PERSONS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENT THAT IS CONNECTED WITH ANY INTERCOM, VIDEO OR AUDIO SYSTEM, WHEN SUCH A SYSTEM IS INSTALLED; (4) ASSURES THAT THE TECHNOLOGY UTILIZED BY TAXICABS IS COMPLIANT WITH THE STANDARDS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION; PROVIDED THAT A LOCAL AUTHORITY WITH OVERSIGHT OVER TAXICABS, LIMOUSINES AND LIVERY VEHICLES MAY CONDUCT PILOT PROGRAMS TESTING NEW SYSTEMS; (5) IS EQUIPPED WITH STANDARDIZED SIGNS PRINTED IN: (A) BRAILLE; AND (B) LARGE-PRINT TEXT SO THAT SUCH SIGNS ARE VISIBLE TO PERSONS WITH LOW VISION; (6) PROVIDES SUFFICIENT FLOOR SPACE TO ACCOMMODATE A SERVICE ANIMAL; AND (7) IF POWERED BY A HYBRID-ELECTRIC POWER PLANT, IS EQUIPPED WITH AN APPROPRIATE DEVICE TO ENABLE PERSONS WHO ARE BLIND TO HEAR THE APPROACH OF THE VEHICLE AS READILY AS THEY CAN HEAR A CONVENTIONAL GASOLINE-POW- ERED TAXICAB. (B) THAT NO OWNER OF A TAXICAB SHALL PLACE ANY TAXICAB INTO SERVICE SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN WHICH TAXICAB IS NOT AN ACCESSIBLE TAXICAB. 3. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEM" SHALL MEAN SITUATIONAL-PERSONAL ACOUSTIC COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE TRANSMISSION AND AUDITORY RECEPTION OF SOUND. SUCH SYSTEM SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO THE USE OF STANDARD AMPLITUDE MODULATION (AM), FREQUENCY MODULATION (FM), AUDIO INDUCTION LOOP, INFRARED LIGHT SOUND, OR HARD WIRE SYSTEMS. S 2. The commissioner of transportation shall promulgate any rules, regulations and standards necessary to give effect of the provisions of this act, including, but not limited to rules, regulations and standards concerning the standardization of assistive listening technology avail- able in taxicabs and the content of signs available in taxicabs to visu- ally impaired persons. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.