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TLC Unveils New Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Service

William Scalzi, president of Accessible Dispatch, the Connecticut company that will dispatch wheelchair accessible taxis in NYC (center); David Yassky, Chairman of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (left); and Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (right) - Sep 14, 2012 (credit: Accessible Dispatch)

William Scalzi, president of Accessible Dispatch, the Connecticut company that will dispatch wheelchair accessible taxis in NYC (center); David Yassky, Chairman of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (left); and Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (right) – Sep 14, 2012 (credit: Accessible Dispatch)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky says that for decades they have failed wheelchair users in the city.

WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb On The Story


He hopes that has failure has now been fixed, as Friday he unveiled a new dispatch system.

He called it groundbreaking, noting that there are now multiple ways that people using wheelchairs can request a cab.

“You can call 311, you can text, you can call the dispatcher directly, you can use a smartphone app, or you can go on the internet,” he told reporters.

Passengers pay the normal metered taxi fare in New York City from the point of pick-up to destination. There are no extra costs to passengers.

“This really means equality, equal opportunity for people with disabilities to travel around the city in the same way everybody else does,” lawyer and wheelchair user Michelle Duprey told WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb.

She said it’s great, and the new system is in effect right now.

Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, is also a wheelchair user.

Victor Calise tests out one of the city's wheelchair-accessible taxis - Sep 14, 2012 (credit: Accessible Dispatch)

Victor Calise tests out one of the city’s wheelchair-accessible taxis – Sep 14, 2012 (credit: Accessible Dispatch)

“My choice would be to call. I like the voice interaction and that’s how I feel about it,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done in the past.”

To call the dispatch center directly, dial 646-599-9999.

To text a request, contact 646-400-0789.

You can use the mobile app “Wheels on Wheels” (WOW), powered by Taxi Magic and available free at the iTunes online app store.

You can also order online at www.nycaccessibledispatch.org

“This is a turning point. For somebody in a wheelchair, they’ve never been able to get a taxi before. Now, they’re going to be able to get one,” Yassky said. “Not as fast as we’d like. That’s going to still take time to get the new cars on the street. But this is a real turning point.”