Accessible DispatchThe ongoing battle between advocates for persons with disabilities and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) continues, but progress has been made. Accessible Dispatch now provides 233 wheelchair-accessible taxis in Manhattan with drivers who have been trained in proper boarding procedures, disability awareness and protocol.
Advocates initially filed a court action suit in 2011 requesting the entire fleet of taxis be accessible. The suit was won, but later lost under appeal. This didn’t stop New York City diplomats and the TLC to continue to find solutions for residents and tourists.

When Accessible Dispatch, operated by Metro Taxi, took on the challenge they didn’t take it lightly. William Scalzi, Founder and President of Metro Taxi, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition of Connecticut (ADACC), stated that “providing anyone using a wheelchair with the best possible transportation experience is our top priority.”

These specific taxis or rear- and side-entry minivans from Accessible Dispatch are on call every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Rides begin in Manhattan and can go to any of the five boroughs of New York, Westchester and Nassau counties and the three regional airports. Taxis run on a meter with no additional fees. There is no charge for the drive time to pick up clients. Service animals are allowed.

There are five ways to request a cab:

  1. Call 311
  2. Call the dispatch center directly: (646) 599-9999
  3. Text a request to: (646) 400-0789
  4. Use the mobile app “Wheels on Wheels” (WOW Taxi), powered by Taxi Magic and available free at the iTunes online app store and at the Google Play store for Android.
  5. Order online at www.nycaccessibledispatch.org

When I traveled to New York City a few years ago and used my scooter, it was difficult to find a taxi cab that could either store my scooter (which is backbreaking work for either the driver or the person with me) or one with a lift. I wasn’t able to find any accessible subway stations and the public bus service was confusing. The next time I visit Manhattan, I hope to give Accessible Dispatch a try.

Accessible Dispatch can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AccessibleDispatch and on Twitter at @NYCaccessible.

Connie Roberts is a professional blogger who makes it her mission to advocate for people with medical issues. Travel with a disability is not a struggle, but an opportunity to see the world and let others see that it’s possible and a lot of fun. Tweet with her @ConnieFoggles.