senate Bill S1231A

Provides improved access to taxicabs for persons with disabilities

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 06 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • 11 / Jan / 2012
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • 11 / Jan / 2012
    • PRINT NUMBER 1231A

Summary

Provides improved access to taxi cabs for persons with disabilities.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S1231
S1231A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Local Government
Law Section:
General Municipal Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง181, Gen Muni L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S4861A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1231A

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general municipal law, in relation to providing for
improved access to taxicabs for persons with disabilities

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To require that by 2012 all new taxis
in New York city are fully accessible to people with disabilities.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Amends the general municipal law:

- provides a definition for "accessible taxicab";

- Requires that by December 31, 2012, in cities with a population of
one million or more, the locality will adopt ordinances to provide
that, by June 30, 2013, no taxicab owner will put a taxicab into
service that is not an accessible taxicab;

- Provides a definition for "assistive listening system";

- Requires the Commissioner of Transportation to promulgate rules,
regulations, and standards necessary to effect this act;

-Act taking effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:
It is a matter of fairness and in spirit with the
principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act that all residents
and visitors to New York city are afforded equal access to all modes
of transportation.

New York city is home to one of the largest taxi fleets in the world,
and while New Yorkers and tourists hailing a taxicab is a common
sight, this mode of transportation, virtually synonymous with the New
York city experience, is not accessible to all.

An estimated 60,000 wheelchair-users live in New York city, but only
238 of the 13,000 medallion yellow cabs (less than 2%) are able to
accommodate a wheelchair passenger. Even fewer livery vehicles and
limousines are accessible for wheelchair customers. This inequity is
an every day really for wheelchair users who are often left stranded
without access to a key element of New York city's transportation
infrastructure. The remaining modes of transportation available to
wheelchair users are far from perfect. While New York City Transit
buses are wheelchair accessible, only 67 out of 468 of the subway
stations are accessible to wheelchair users.
In this most basic of ways
New York City lags behind other

comparable cities, like London, England, which has maintained a 100%
wheelchair accessible taxi fleet since 1989.

This bill requires that all new taxicabs be equipped with a lift and
ramp that allows for the safe transport of wheelchair users and
scooters.

Over 300,000 New Yorkers are estimated to be blind or of low vision.
For these individuals, consistency is the key to accessibility. So
when credit card machines, for instance, are in different locations
within a vehicle's cab or are designed differently, this is a barrier
to service for low-vision or blind individuals. Similarly, if a
taxicab does not have enough floor space to accommodate a service
animal, an individual traveling with one is not able to ride. Also,
because many hybrid vehicles make far less noise than conventional
gasoline-powered cars, many people of low-vision or blind individuals
are unable to hear these vehicles approach, creating a hazardous
situation. Another problem exists in relation to signage. In 1997,
New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission ordered all taxicabs to
have Braille signage that provides the taxi's medallion number, the
word "complaints," and a customer service telephone number located in
a consistent location. Unfortunately, signage relating to the rights
of taxi cab consumers and fare schedules are not provided in Braille
and generally the font size for all of these signs is very small,
making it difficult for people who are of low vision to read. This
bill requires that taxicabs are compliant with standard technology
(with an exception for the testing
of pilot programs for new systems), provide sufficient floor space
for a service animal, require that hybrid-powered taxicabs are
outfitted with a device that enables the blind or low vision
individuals to hear the vehicle approach, and provides for
large-print and Braille signage.

Approximately 10% of the U.S. population has some form of hearing
loss, putting the estimated number of New York City residents who are
deaf or hard of hearing at just under one million people. For these
individuals it is commonly difficult to communicate with the taxicab
driver about their destination, their preferred route, or to converse
about the fare and payment. This bill requires that new taxicabs be
fitted with an assistive listening system so that people who use a
hearing aid can be connected to an intercom, video, or audio system.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: S.4861A/A.7842A (Died in Senate Local Government/Died in
Assembly Third Reading)
2009: S.4861A/A.7842A (Died in Senate Local Government/Died in
Assembly Cities)

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 1231--A

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  DUANE  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- recom-
  mitted to the Committee on Local Government in accordance with  Senate
  Rule  6,  sec.  8  --  committee  discharged,  bill  amended,  ordered
  reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the general municipal law, in relation to providing  for
  improved access to taxicabs for persons with disabilities

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1.  Section 181 of the general municipal law,  as  amended  by
chapter 579 of the laws of 1993, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 430
of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows:
  S 181. Ordinances to regulate taxicabs and limousines.  1. The munici-
pal  officers  and  boards  in the several cities, towns and villages of
this state now having the authority to enact ordinances, may adopt ordi-
nances regulating:
  [1.] (A) The registration and licensing of taxicabs and may limit  the
number  of  taxicabs  to  be  licensed and the county of Westchester may
adopt ordinances regulating the registration and licensing  of  taxicabs
and  limousines  and may limit the number to be licensed; and the county
of Nassau may adopt ordinances regulating the registration  of  taxicabs
and limousines.
  [2.]  (B)  Parking  and  passenger  pick-up and discharge by taxicabs,
limousines and livery vehicles. Establishment  of  such  ordinances  and
regulations  regulating parking and passenger pick-up and discharges may
be based upon recommendations from municipal planning officials or other
public entities  and  may  address  and  take  into  consideration  such
factors,  including, but not limited to, geographic areas, vehicle type,
limiting the number of parked vehicles and activities  undertaken  while
parked, and periods of idling.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01099-02-2

S. 1231--A                          2

  2.  THE  MUNICIPAL OFFICERS AND BOARDS IN ANY CITY HAVING A POPULATION
OF MORE THAN ONE MILLION SHALL NO LATER THAN DECEMBER THIRTY-FIRST,  TWO
THOUSAND FIFTEEN ADOPT ORDINANCES PROVIDING:
  (A) THAT "ACCESSIBLE TAXICAB" SHALL MEAN ANY VEHICLE THAT
  (1) IS EQUIPPED WITH A LIFT, RAMP, OR ANY OTHER DEVICE, ARRANGEMENT OR
ALTERATION, SO IT IS CAPABLE OF TRANSPORTING PERSONS WITH PHYSICAL DISA-
BILITIES,  INCLUDING  THOSE  WHO  USE  WHEELCHAIRS, SCOOTERS AND SIMILAR
DEVICES WHILE THEY REMAIN SEATED IN THEIR WHEELCHAIRS, SCOOTERS OR SIMI-
LAR DEVICES;
  (2) COMPLIES WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH IN REGULATIONS  PROMUL-
GATED  UNDER  THE  AMERICANS  WITH  DISABILITIES  ACT AND CODIFIED AT 49
C.F.R. SECTIONS 38.23, 38.25 AND 38.31, AS AMENDED, WHETHER OR NOT THOSE
REGULATIONS WOULD APPLY UNDER FEDERAL LAW;
  (3) IS EQUIPPED WITH AN ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEM  FOR  PERSONS  WITH
HEARING  IMPAIRMENT  THAT IS CONNECTED WITH ANY INTERCOM, VIDEO OR AUDIO
SYSTEM, WHEN SUCH A SYSTEM IS INSTALLED;
  (4) ASSURES THAT THE TECHNOLOGY UTILIZED BY TAXICABS IS COMPLIANT WITH
THE  STANDARDS  PROMULGATED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF   TRANSPORTATION;
PROVIDED THAT A LOCAL AUTHORITY WITH OVERSIGHT OVER TAXICABS, LIMOUSINES
AND LIVERY VEHICLES MAY CONDUCT PILOT PROGRAMS TESTING NEW SYSTEMS;
  (5)  IS  EQUIPPED WITH STANDARDIZED SIGNS PRINTED IN: (A) BRAILLE; AND
(B) LARGE-PRINT TEXT SO THAT SUCH SIGNS ARE VISIBLE TO PERSONS WITH  LOW
VISION;
  (6)  PROVIDES  SUFFICIENT FLOOR SPACE TO ACCOMMODATE A SERVICE ANIMAL;
AND
  (7) IF POWERED BY A HYBRID-ELECTRIC POWER PLANT, IS EQUIPPED  WITH  AN
APPROPRIATE  DEVICE TO ENABLE PERSONS WHO ARE BLIND TO HEAR THE APPROACH
OF THE VEHICLE AS READILY AS THEY CAN HEAR A CONVENTIONAL  GASOLINE-POW-
ERED TAXICAB.
  (B)  THAT  NO  OWNER OF A TAXICAB SHALL PLACE ANY TAXICAB INTO SERVICE
SUBSEQUENT TO JUNE THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN WHICH TAXICAB IS  NOT
AN ACCESSIBLE TAXICAB.
  3. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEM"
SHALL   MEAN   SITUATIONAL-PERSONAL   ACOUSTIC  COMMUNICATION  EQUIPMENT
DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE TRANSMISSION AND AUDITORY  RECEPTION  OF  SOUND.
SUCH  SYSTEM  SHALL  INCLUDE  BUT  NOT BE LIMITED TO THE USE OF STANDARD
AMPLITUDE MODULATION (AM), FREQUENCY MODULATION  (FM),  AUDIO  INDUCTION
LOOP, INFRARED LIGHT SOUND, OR HARD WIRE SYSTEMS.
  S  2.  The  commissioner of transportation shall promulgate any rules,
regulations and standards necessary to give effect of the provisions  of
this act, including, but not limited to rules, regulations and standards
concerning  the standardization of assistive listening technology avail-
able in taxicabs and the content of signs available in taxicabs to visu-
ally impaired persons.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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