FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Contact:  Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650 
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TNC ACCESSIBILITY TASK FORCE RELEASES REPORT ON IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY FOR PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES

Advocates call for full implementation of all recommendations.

Albany, New York, February 25, 2019 –The Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force has just issued their final report outlining their findings and providing recommendations on ways to ensure TNCs serve people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, who are currently unable to utilize the service.

“Our objective was to provide strong recommendations that will significantly improve access to ridesharing for wheelchair users and others who have been unable to utilize the service while making sure the recommendations are achievable,” stated Meghan Parker, Task Force member and Director of Advocacy for the New York Association on Independent Living.

The New York State Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force (the Task Force) was created as part of the legislation that authorized TNCs to operate statewide and were tasked with investigating the level of accessibility needed and identifying ways to improve access to riders with disabilities. Currently, TNCs do not provide service to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices which cannot be folded up and stored in the trunk.

“The recommendations, if properly implemented, will provide a much greater level of access to wheelchair users and others. Given that most people who use power chairs are unable to use any on-demand transportation service right now, this will be a big improvement,” said Todd Vaarwerk, Task Force member and Chief Policy Officer for Western New York Independent Living in Buffalo.

The task force held five listening sessions around the State and collected comments via email throughout November and December 2018. Through this process, they heard from the public about a wide variety of transportation barriers facing individuals with disabilities. Among those issues are; wheelchair accessibility, lack of rural transit, safety concerns, service animal awareness, accountability, and affordability.

The Task Force has also made recommendations which are divided into two categories; state government and transportation network companies. Recommendations for the TNC include better accountability, availability, and accessibility; driver education, application accessibility and an expansion of the TNC model payment options. Recommendations made to the State Legislature include; establishment of a governing entity to provide oversite, provide incentives to increase wheelchair accessible cars, and incentivize accessible vehicles already in service by communities for TNC use.

“I think oversight on the part of the State is key to ensuring the rest of the recommendations are implemented. We very much look forward to action on the part of the legislature and the Executive to ensure this report is implemented and results in increased and comparable access for wheelchair users and other passengers with disabilities,” stated Denise Figueroa, Task Force member and Executive Director for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley in Troy.

To view the final report, please follow the link provided: https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/tnctaskforcefinalreport.pdf.

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About NYAIL – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.