Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sen. Tom Harkin urges NY City to add wheelchair-accessible design to taxis

From the NY Daily News:

An influential U.S. senator is taking sides in the city's Taxi of Tomorrow competition, urging Mayor Bloomberg to pick a model with wheelchair ramps.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa, pictured) doesn't name a specific design in a letter to the mayor, but only one of three finalists in the contest fits that description: the KarsanUSA cab.

"By selecting a fully accessible Taxi of Tomorrow, you could take great pride that New York's decision would represent a historic step forward in advancing the cause of disability rights in the U.S. and around the world," wrote Harkin, the original Senate sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The winner of the Taxi of Tomorrow competition will be the only model authorized for use by yellow cab drivers for a decade.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan), who has pushed for accessible cabs, calls Harkin's input "hugely important."

There are 13,237 yellow cabs, but only 230 are wheelchair-accessible.

Ford and Nissan are the other two finalists in the taxi competition.