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NYC eyes taxi fare boost to fund accessible cabs

A woman tries to hail a taxi on

A woman tries to hail a taxi on First Avenue in Manhattan on Oct. 31, 2012. Credit: Getty Images

New York City taxicab riders would pay a 30-cent per ride surcharge to fund wheelchair-accessible cabs under a proposal from Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, according to City Hall sources.

The fares would go up next year, with the vehicle conversions to start the year after. The goal is to make half of the city's fleet -- roughly 7,500 cabs -- wheelchair accessible by 2020.

The plan comes after a settlement, announced late last year in the waning days of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, of a class-action lawsuit by advocates for disabled people.

The surcharge would fund conversions of both traditional yellow cabs as well as the new green-hued borough taxis, which are allowed to pick up passengers anywhere in the city but south of East 96th Street and West 110th Street in Manhattan.

The issue will be considered at a meeting late next month of the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

"We are turning a corner here. New Yorkers with disabilities have fought for years to secure basic fairness in transportation," the mayor said in a statement . "With the concrete rules and plans we are putting in place, we're finally making an accessible taxi fleet a reality. This is a major step forward."

A de Blasio official detailed the proposed surcharge.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez (D-Manhattan), chairman of the council's transportation committee, called the proposal "a major win for the disabled community."

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg did not comment.

Michael Woloz of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group representing operators, said, "We are excited to improve hail service to our customers that use wheelchairs."

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