Exclusive : article by DAN RIVOLI for NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | February 22, 2016
A disability rights group will launch an ad campaign Monday against Uber for rebuffing a wheelchair-accessible fleet.
A narrator in the United Spinal Association’s 30-second spot, which will run on NY1 and cable TV channels, says, “Uber should make its 30,000 cars in New York wheelchair-accessible.”
“We need Uber to step up, we need Uber to be a socially aware, socially responsible company,” United Spinal Association President Jim Weisman told the Daily News.
An Uber rep said the company’s app already connects its users with existing yellow and green taxis that can handle riders in wheelchairs.
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“Before Uber, these riders were too often left stranded waiting for one of the small number of accessible cabs to pull up,” an Uber spokeswoman said.
“We are actively exploring new ways to build on this progress and better serve all people with disabilities.”
Weisman, however, said Uber’s popularity and growth has put a dent in the yellow and green taxi business — the only sectors that are required to have wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
“They are replacing those vehicles,” Weisman said.
The ad is being launched ahead of a City Council Transportation Committee hearing Feb. 29 about a package of taxi bills. Disability advocates have criticized the Council for not introducing any bills to address the accessibility gap in the taxi industry.