Embattled comptroller John Liu is seeking to block Mayor Bloomberg's Taxi of Tomorrow contract unless provisions are made to provide handicapped accessibility.
In a statement, Liu came out slamming the new Nissan NV-200's demanding the city "follow in the footsteps of cities like London" and provide such accessibility, with Assemblyman Micah Kellner supporting Liu's vowed rejection, declaring the proposed vehicles as the "Cathie Black of taxis." Liu said in the following statement:
The new contract for taxis presents us with a historic opportunity to right a wrong that New Yorkers with disabilities have been fighting to achieve for nearly two decades. Requiring cabs to have independent passenger climate controls is nice, but when you fail to make them accessible to a growing number of New Yorkers, it’s not just a slap in the face, it’s illegal. We will send back any plan that does not uphold the civil rights demanded by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In December, a federal judge blocked the city from issuing permits to new taxis unless they were modified to be handicapped accessible, citing, "Meaningful access for the disabled to public transportation services is not a utopian goal or political promise, it is a basic civil right."
Soon after The Observer revealed Nissan had actually considered providing handicapped accessible taxis, but got a hunch Bloomberg didn't care for the idea and nixed the plans. Indeed, the mayor has criticized the idea suggesting the proposed plan was a waste of money and gas.
However, when the new taxis were revealed in April, nothing was uttered about such inclusions. Rather, city Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky hailed the rides for providing "higher-quality taxi ride than what they're getting today."