Rideshare Operators Object To New Accessibility Regulations

The best motorized wheelchair opens up opportunities for people with disabilities to get out into the community and do more, and as they do for people who do not have limited mobility, ride-sharing services offer wheelchair users a flexible way to travel from opportunity to opportunity.

But major rideshare operators object to government regulations that are requiring them to increase accessibility to their services, so they are taking legal action to protect their businesses.

Uber, Lyft, and Via have filed a petition in New York’s state Supreme Court asking that the state reverse the recently-passed Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) mandate requiring them to increase wheelchair accessibility over the course of the next several years.

“Unfortunately, in an effort to placate one constituency, the TLC has imposed an arbitrary and capricious mandate that unreasonably burdens another,” the petition said. “If implemented, the TLC’s rule will not only fail to meet any stated or defined metric of success; it also will wreak irreparable economic damage on the entire FHV (for hire vehicle) industry, from the largest app-based companies to the most vulnerable small base operators.”

The rules, which are supposed to take effect in July, require that within 12 months 5 percent of all trips dispatched by the three ride-hailing companies be in wheelchair accessible vehicles, Crain’s New York Business reported.

By July 2023, the percentage must rise to 25 percent per the TLC mandate. Under separate rules, the taxi industry must meet a 50 percent accessibility mandate by 2020.

Five trade groups representing livery cabs, black cars and limos are asking for a temporary injunction against the mandate.

Disability advocates have filed a brief in federal court in Manhattan opposing the rideshare companies’ motion for the preliminary injunction.

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