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New York City's wheelchair-accessible taxi dispatch program is now available in all five boroughs. Photo:Pixabay

New Yorkers can now hail wheelchair-accessible taxis in all five boroughs with the expansion of the city’s Accessible Dispatch program.

 

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission first launched Accessible Dispatch in Sept. 2012, but the program, which connects New Yorkers who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids to accessible cabs at no extra cost, has so far only been available in Manhattan.

 

Now, wheelchair users can hail an accessible taxi by calling, using the Accessible Dispatch app or booking online, from any borough, city officials announced Wednesday.

 

“Accessible transportation is truly accessible when it’s widely available to those who may need it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This five-borough expansion marks another important step in the mission to make New York a fairer city, ensuring transportation means to more riders who often struggle to find a reliable and convenient way to get around.”

 

The Taxi and Limousine Commission’s dispatch service provider began testing the expansion in September. Since then, more than 1,100 wheelchair-accessible rides have been hailed from the outer boroughs, including neighborhoods like Riverdale, East New York and Dongan Hills.

 

The Accessible Dispatch program is a 24/7 service. It began in 2012 with 233 wheelchair-accessible taxis, according to the commission, and now has an accessible fleet of nearly 2,200 yellow taxis and more than 200 green cabs.

“It's wonderful that citywide accessible dispatch is now available so we can get rides in the outer boroughs, too,” said Jean Ryan, vice president for Public Affairs of Disabled In Action and a member of Taxis for ALL Campaign, in a statement. “Hopefully in the future, all cabs and for-hire vehicles will be wheelchair accessible to really achieve equal access for all.”