NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky says that for decades they have failed wheelchair users in the city.
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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.READ MORE: Heavy Rain Has Queens Residents Worried About Ida Repeat: 'I'm Scared To Death'
Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, is also a wheelchair user.
“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.
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“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.”