A federal court judge has signed off on a Taxi and Limousine Commission plan to fund 7,500 handicapped accessible taxis in New York City by 2020.
The New York Post reported that Judge George Daniels will allow the TLC to implement a 30-cent per ride surcharge on all trips in yellow medallion cabs and green street-hail livery vehicles.
As of April 30, when its board first approved the surcharge, the TLC reported 631 existing accessible cabs out of a total taxi fleet of more than 13,000.
The agency estimates that the 7,500 vehicles will amount to half the fleet in 2020.
The surcharge will go into place on Jan. 1, with the first of the new accessible cabs coming on the road in January 2016.
The Chronicle was unable to contact representatives of Disability Rights Advocates New York for comments or a statement on the settlement.
According to the TLC, taxi operators who bring accessible vehicles into service in 2016 will be eligible for grants to help offset the cost of converting them.
Another portion of the funds collected will be made available to owners to help offset the additional cost of operating and maintaining an accessible taxi.
Meera Joshi, Mayor de Blasio’s TLC chairman, voted for the surcharge.
The mayor, in the TLC statement, called the plan fair, equitable and achievable.
He said the proposal is a vital change for thousands of New Yorkers.
“This is about recognizing the fundamental rights of New Yorkers with disabilities,” the mayor said. “Our transportation systems should open doors, not close them.”
As of this month, all drivers who apply for a taxi operator’s license are required to receive approved training in wheelchair passenger assistance.
All drivers must receive the training by the time of their first license renewal after Jan. 1, 2016.