CT Access for All: Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Initiative

12/1/2011 12:00:00 AM

Background and Update

In 2009, legislation was passed permitting wheelchair accessible taxis in the state of Connecticut and in 2010 Connecticut Clean Cities received a grant for alternative fuel vehicles from the Clean Cities Future Fuels Project (CTCCFF), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, allowing Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab to purchase 140 new wheelchair accessible CNG purpose-built taxis called the ‘MV-1’.

In late 2010, Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab submitted applications for a total of 140 additional taxi permits to CT Department of Transportation to provide on-demand wheelchair accessible taxi service. In order to provide this service, both companies need to expand their respective territories to include portions of Greater New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford.

Hearings for both companies were held from January 2011 through May 2011. Nearly 50 individuals and/or representatives from disability organizations provided compelling testimony as to why the proposed service is essential to fulfilling the everyday transportation and independent living needs of the disability community.

Unfortunately, in October 2011, the CT Department of Transportation denied both applications and granted no additional permits!

Both companies have filed motions for reconsideration with the CT Department of Transportation. The motions were filed on November 9, 2011 and DOT has 25 days to issue a ruling. The CT-SILC, along with other disability organizations, are reviewing potential legal action against the state based on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), along with a Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities complaint and media campaign.

More Information:

http://ctmirror.org/story/14587/wheelchair-accessible-cabs-be-deployed-advocates-still-fighting

You Can Take Action

Please take action and send a letter to the Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker with a copy to Governor Dannel Malloy and your state representative and state senator.

Please TAKE ACTION TODAY by writing a quick letter to the CT DOT Commissioner Redeker with a copy to Governor Malloy. Attached, please find a sample letter that you can quickly tailor to your needs. It will only take 5 mins! Then, please email your letter by cutting and pasting it into the comment sections at the below:

CT DOT Commissioner Redeker via: http://www.dotdata.ct.gov/contacts/contact.aspx.

Governor Dannel Malloy via:

http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/cwp/view.asp?a=3998&q=479082

Also, please follow our blog and post your comments: http://ctaccessforall.blogspot.com.

Need and benefits of wheelchair accessible taxi service in CT

• Transportation and housing are the two biggest needs within the disability community, in order for residents to live in the community independently.

• According to the 2000 U.S. Census data, over 120,000 people with physical disabilities live in the cities and towns applied for by Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab.

• As our state’s population ages, there will be a dramatic increase in the number of people with disabilities. It is estimated that from 2006 to 2030, our state’s older adult population will increase by 64%, with many older adults losing their ability to drive and acquiring mobility limitations and/or physical disabilities as they age.

• Paratransit/ADA bus service and Dial-A-Ride provide transportation but these options are limited to daytime hours, advanced booking and must be within town limits. Additionally, many smaller towns have limited or no public transit which means there is no Paratransit.

• Various disability state initiatives, including Connect-Ability, have researched and mapped out recommendations to provide accessible taxi service to meet the ongoing demands for people with disabilities.

• The Connecticut Public Transportation Commission’s 2008 Annual Report and Recommendations and the 2007 Locally Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plan for the State of Connecticut highlight that there is no wheelchair accessible taxis, which limits the mobility of persons with disabilities, especially during the timeframes where public transit and paratransit services do no operate.

• A 2008 Connect-Ability Issue Brief outlined that the lack of accessible taxis limits the employment opportunities and options for people with disabilities.

• Accessible taxis represent at a personal travel option – the time has come for Connecticut to have taxis that provide universal accessible design available on demand.

• ADA protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and maximizes their access to employment, public accommodations, such as restaurants, hotels, stores, museums, etc. and public and private transportation.

• Accessible taxis come up woefully short in the state of Connecticut. At this time, there are three (3) accessible taxis in the state, serving the New Haven area.

Benefits of Universal Access Vehicle, MV-1

• The MV-1, the first true mobility vehicle.

• It was vital input from the disability community that helped build it. It is a US built, one and only mobility transportation solution that rolls right off the assembly line ready for wheelchair accessibility that meets or exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines by examining its features in greater detail.

• Connecticut will be the first state in the country to receive the MV-1 vehicles.

• It was engineered using the principles of Universal Design, which allows for ease of accessibility regardless of mobility situation or any disability. With a deployable ramp capable of holding up to 1,200 lbs., a low step-in floor and extremely spacious entryway and interior, the MV-1 provides accessibility that is unmatched by any other wheelchair accessible van.

• The integrated deployable ramp has a shallow ramp angle, an anti-slip surface, and is stored under the floor of the vehicle so you don''t lose any interior space.

• 36" by 56" doorway featuring low step-in that allows easy entry for all passengers. Best-in-class interior room, seating up to 6 comfortably.

• Passengers in wheelchairs or scooters can easily enter and turn effortlessly, so they can sit next to the driver. Commercial driver’s seat for maximum operator comfort

Benefits of Compressed Natural Gas fueled vehicles

• The universal access vehicle, the MV-1, is manufactured in the US and is fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG), which is nearly carbon neutral and reduces our dependency on foreign oil.

• Metro Taxi and Yellow Cab received a U.S. Department of Energy grant to convert fleet vehicles across the nation to alternative fuels, improving upon our air quality and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The grant supports the additional cost to convert a new vehicle to CNG fueling.

• Since the two companies are committed to using CNG, they decided to take the extra step and purchase new MV-1 paratransit vehicles. The MV-1’s are accessible, can accommodate two (2) wheelchairs, and are available as CNG taxicabs.

• CNG fueled vehicles are very safe. There are over 12 million such vehicles worldwide. The vehicles have an excellent safety record for two primary reasons: 1.) the property of the fuel itself and the integrity of the natural gas vehicle; 2.) its fuel delivery system.

• New natural gas vehicles are subjected to the same federal government safety standards and crash tests as other vehicles. Based upon a survey of 8,331 natural gas utility, school, municipal, and business fleet vehicles that traveled 178.3 million miles, the NGV fleet had an injury rate 37% lower than that of the gasoline fleet vehicle rate. (Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, revised 9-17-2010).

Additional accessible taxi articles and reports

• CT Mirror, DOT Denies Permits of Companies Seeking Wheelchair Accessible Taxis, November 1, 2011, http://www.ctmirror.org/story/14373/dot-denies-permits-companies-seeking-wheelchair-accessible-cabs

• CT Mirror, For People in Wheelchairs, Calling a Cab Is Not An Easy Option, July 19, 2011, http://ctmirror.org/story/13277/wheelchair-accessible-taxis

• New Haven Register, Taxi Access is Matter of Civil Rights, March 2, 2011,

http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2011/03/02/opinion/doc4d6d7142b26d24393919

• CT Public Transportation Committee 2008 Annual Report and Recommendations (page 26), http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents/dcptc/2008annualreport.pdf

• MV-1 vehicles, http://www.vpgautos.com/

• Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, http://www.cleanvehicle.org/

• Connecticut Clean Cities, http://www.ct-futurefuels.com/

• National Council for Independent Living, http://www.ncil.org/news/AccessibleTaxis2.html

• Metro Taxi, http://www.metrotaxict.com/metroaccess/index.htm

• The Yellow Cab Company, http://www.theyellowcab.com/weregreen/

• Connecticut State Independent Living Council, http://www.ctsilc.org

More information or questions

Feel free to contact Daria Smith at daria.ctsilc@gmail.com or Deb Melaragno at deb.ctsilc@gmail.com or call the CT-SILC office at 860-523-0126. Also, please visit our website at http://www.ctsilc.org for regular updates.



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