“You can take comfort knowing the MV-1 was built like a truck: strong and dependable,” reads the sales text on the website of VPG Autos, the Indiana-based makers of the MV-1 Taxi – New York’s new wheelchair accessible Taxi of “the Meantime.” And Mayor Michael Bloomberg ain’t buying it! The language, that is. He totally “buying” the MV-1s as taxis for New York city for the immediate future, but all that crap about strong and “built like a truck” – Puh-LEASE!
Built like a truck, yet rides like a car: A de Dion rear suspension with steel leaf springs and air shocks to deliver an extremely comfortable ride for all passengers? Who says? Some slick salesman from VPG Autos? Well, Bloomberg knows for a fact that “[Wheelchair accessible vehicle] suspension is much worse, so the average person riding in them finds them really uncomfortable.” He’s just not buying into the rhetoric; he just wants NYC cabbies to buy the VPG taxis – The Taxis of “the Meantime.”
See Bloomberg is far more interested in his Taxis of Tomorrow which have their own disability: they’re not wheelchair accessible. Oh, the irony! Back in December 2009, Mayor Bloomberg and the Taxi and Limousine Commission issued a “Request for Proposals” which invited auto makers to submit ideas for a new vehicle to serve as the New York City Taxi of Tomorrow. In the end, the Nissan NV200 beat out Ford and Karsan, a Turkish company with a production plant in Brooklyn, for the honor of sending potential American jobs to Nissan’s production facility in Cuernavaca, Mexico for 10 years beginning in 2013. Yeah, Nissan!
But we digress. The ridiculous facts are that currently only 231 of the 13,237 yellow taxis in the city are wheelchair accessible. For those of you playing at home that’s about 1.7%. And while I can already hear some of you grumbling, “Well, gee how many people use wheelchairs? That’s probably an accurate ratio of my kind of taxis to their kind of taxis. WTF?” in reality, the ratios are irrelevant. There are enough Americans who use wheelchairs out of necessity to warrant the accommodations. Period. Why do we continually need to have this idiotic conversation?!
No one is thinking about the ratios of wheelchairs to accessible taxis at 2:15 in the morning after a night of partying when everyone’s loaded and you’re trying to wave down a taxi that can accommodate your friend who happens to use a wheelchair. Not to mention, you have to pee reeeeeeeeeeeaaally bad!!!
“We can never see them, and the stickers are in the back,” said Jean Ryan with Disabled in Action, not that she had to pee at the time. “So they’ve passed us by the time we see that they’re accessible – if we ever see one. It’s like an Elvis sighting.”
So why aren’t the new Taxis of Tomorrow wheelchair accessible? F*** if we know, but we did put together a list of the top five reasons Mayor Bloomberg wants nothing to do with them.