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Disability Groups File Motion to Prevent New York City from Shirking Its Obligation to Provide Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis

— March 5, 2024

Almost 10 years later, the TLC has failed to meet the requirement for a 50% accessible taxi fleet, even though there is no legal basis for them to avoid their obligations under the Court-ordered agreement.

New York, NY—A coalition of disability groups filed a motion in federal court to compel the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to comply with the provisions of a settlement that was agreed upon in 2014 requiring they make at least 50% of their iconic yellow taxi fleet accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Despite an extension of time to fulfill its obligation, the TLC has not only failed to reach the 50% accessibility threshold, but are seeking to escape their obligation altogether. Read the motion to enforce the settlement agreement.

In 2011, Disability Rights Advocates and Sheppard Mullin filed a class action lawsuit against the TLC on behalf of a coalition of people with disabilities, including Taxis for All Campaign, United Spinal Association, 504 Democratic Club, and Disabled In Action, challenging the TLC’s dismal lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis.

In 2014, all parties reached a historic settlement agreement in which the TLC promised to make at least 50% of its taxis accessible for wheelchair-users. Because the yellow taxi fleet was more than 98% inaccessible at the time, the settlement meant a better life for thousands of people who were excluded from the convenience of hailing a taxi. The increase in the number of accessible yellow taxis has given thousands of people who use wheelchairs the ability to exercise their right to hail a yellow taxi just like everyone else can.

Almost 10 years later, the TLC has failed to meet the requirement for a 50% accessible taxi fleet, even though there is no legal basis for them to avoid their obligations under the Court-ordered agreement. The TLC’s disregard for the settlement they agreed to has resulted in residents and visitors to New York City being excluded from using taxis to traverse the city. The motion to enforce the settlement agreement will ensure that the TLC keeps up their end of the bargain and stops discriminating against wheelchair-users in New York City.

“Yellow taxis should not be a thing of the past for us! Wheelchair users who are residents, visitors, and tourists need to hail and use wheelchair accessible cabs to get around our city. This is about equity and fairness,” said Jean Ryan, President of Disabled In Action.

“When we settled with the City, Federal Judge George Daniels called our agreement ‘one of the most significant acts of inclusion in this city since Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers,’ yet now Mayor Adams and the TLC propose rolling back this landmark achievement. The only thing that has changed over the past decade is, apparently, the City’s own commitment to fairness and equal access,” said Joe Rappaport, Executive Director of Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled and member of Taxis For All.

“The TLC wishes to undermine the rights of wheelchair users to save the yellow cab industry but the TLC allowed Uber and Lyft to decimate it first. Now they want us to come to the rescue,” said James Weisman, General Counsel at United Spinal Association.

“We have an agreement. That’s the long and short of it,” said individual plaintiff Simi Linton.

Graphic of man signing contract; image by Mohamed Hassan, via
Graphic of man signing contract; image by Mohamed Hassan, via

“As a wheelchair-user who frequently relies on cabs to navigate the city, I know firsthand that the TLC can and must do better. We are committed to working with our clients and the Court to ensure that the TLC complies with its court-ordered obligations so that we wheelchair-users have the same freedom to hail and ride a cab safely as any other New Yorker or visitor,” said Rebecca Williford, President and CEO of Disability Rights Advocates.

“100% of the yellow taxis should be accessible. The fact that less than 50% are accessible, despite our written agreement, is inexcusable,” said Dan Brown of Sheppard Mullin.

About 504 Democratic Club

504 Democratic Club is one of only three city-wide clubs; with a nonpartisan membership, (our First Vice President is a Republican) and at 40 years old the nation’s first and largest club advocating for the Civil Rights of people with disabilities.

About Disability Rights Advocates

Disability Rights Advocates is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing class action cases. For more information, visit

About Disabled In Action

DIA was a founding member of Taxis For All Campaign in 1996. We are an all-volunteer, nonprofit disability civil rights organization made up of people with all kinds of disabilities.

About Sheppard Mullin

Sheppard Mullin is a full-service AmLaw 50 firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 16 offices located in the United States, Europe and Asia. Since 1927, industry-leading companies have turned to Sheppard Mullin to handle corporate and technology matters, high-stakes litigation and complex financial transactions. In the U.S., the firm’s clients include nearly half of the Fortune 100. Sheppard Mullin is proud of its history and commitment to pro bono. For more information, please visit

About Taxis For All Campaign

A coalition advocating for wheelchair-accessible taxis and for-hire vehicles in New York City, based upon universal design principles.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal Association is a disability led, national membership organization with 61,000 members, the vast majority of whom are wheelchair users.

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