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THE ASSEMBLY STATE OF NEW YORK ALBANY

COMMITTEES Banks Cities Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Consumer Affairs and Protection Racing and Wagering Steering

MICAH Z. KELLNER th 65 Assembly District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 2, 2011

CONTACT: Colin Brennan (office) 518.455.5676 (cell) 518.810.9888

100% of Future Taxi Medallions and 20% of “Street Hail Liveries” To Be Wheelchair Accessible Under Landmark Deal Reached Between Assemblyman Kellner and the Taxi and Livery Industries Kellner Urges Cuomo’s Support on Major Step for Civil Rights of New Yorkers with Disabilities in all Five Boroughs New York, NY -- As the debate over the troubled and highly controversial Bloomberg-backed “livery street hail” bill (A8496) continues, Assembly Member Micah Kellner (D, WFP – Upper East Side & Roosevelt Island) unveiled an agreement with the largest taxi and livery associations that would vastly increase wheelchair accessible taxi and livery service for New Yorkers in all five boroughs. This breakthrough agreement requires all newly auctioned yellow taxi medallions to be accessible and would include the establishment of a task force to improve taxi and livery accessibility for all New Yorker’s with disabilities. The agreement will dramatically increase the number of accessible taxis and liveries from roughly 300 to 3,000 over the next three years. Kellner’s Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan (A4ATL) would expand the number of accessible cabs by 750% from 1.7% of the yellow taxi fleet to over 12% and require 20% of cars to be accessible in a new outer-borough livery street hail system. The A4ATL plan modifies the existing “livery street hail” bill by requiring all of the 1,500 yellow taxi medallions sold to be wheelchair accessible. The A4ATL plan also replaces the 30,000 livery street hail permits—none of which are currently required to be accessible—with a far more feasible 6,000 livery street hail medallions, 20% (1,200) of which are required to be wheelchair accessible. This will only be the fourth medallion sale in 75 years. “Currently finding an accessible taxi is like winning the lottery: you hope it will happen, but you don’t count on it. This plan creates a real opportunity for riders with disabilities to take advantage of New York’s most iconic mode of transportation” said Assembly Member Micah Kellner. “This agreement shows that taxi owners are ready to pull up to the curb and turn on the meter for wheelchair-users. While I will continue to push for 100% accessibility, I’m encouraged that the taxi and livery industries recognize the importance of providing service to all New Yorkers in the five boroughs and I commend them for it.”

▫ 834 Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248  (518) 455-5676, FAX (518) 455-5282 ▫ 315 East 65 Street, New York, NY 10065  (212) 860-4906, FAX (917) 432-2983 E-mail: KellnerM@assembly.state.ny.us


The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the Livery Round Table, the Federation of New York State Taxi Drivers, the Greater New York Taxi Association, the Committee for Taxi Safety, the League of Mutual Taxi Owners and the Taxicab Service Association, as well as the banks and credit unions that secure medallion financing have all agreed to support the Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan. Unlike the permits proposed in the “livery street hail” bill, the “livery street hail medallions” in the A4ATL plan would be low-priced transferable assets discounted for buyers of accessible livery vehicles. The medallions would provide economic opportunities for the livery drivers, livery bases and other members of the public who would be eligible to purchase them. In addition to the improvements of accessibility for wheelchair users, it is important to note the potential savings for the MTA, which spends $472 million a year on Access-A-Ride (approximately $60 for a one-way trip) and has sought to cut $120 million from the program. The new pool of accessible vehicles created by the A4ATL plan provides an opportunity for the MTA to reduce the cost of Access-A-Ride by as much as $100 million. “I urge the Governor to green light the A4ATL Plan because it brings better transportation opportunities to wheelchair-users and raises even more much-needed revenue for the City and could save the cash-strapped MTA money. This creates an incredible opportunity for the MTA’s Access-A-Ride to take advantage of these new cabs to save money while at the same time providing a superior service. For this reason alone, I think that all of my colleagues in the Legislature should support the A4ATL plan” continued Kellner. The legislation (A8496) currently before the Governor does not thoroughly address the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities and includes no accessible cars for the outer-boroughs. The A4ATL coalition, led by Assembly Member Kellner, seeks to amend the “livery street hail” bill when the legislature reconvenes in the Fall. “MTBOT fully supports Assemblyman Kellner’s Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan because it is a much more sensible approach to two very complicated issues – wheelchair accessibility and outer borough service,” said Ron Sherman, President of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade. “On behalf of the Livery Round Table, we are pleased that Assemblyman Kellner has worked with the industry to correct one of the two major flaws contained in the proposed (A8496) legislation to be sent to the Governor. It is important that the issue of wheelchair accessible liveries be addressed in a constructive fashion along with the core flaw to the legislation, that being the implementation of a dual use livery system. We are delighted to be working with Assembly Member Kellner in this historical moment and we are in full support of the A4ATL plan, which, by the way, solves both of the current bill’s flaws,” said Guy B. Palumbo, Executive Director of the Livery Round Table. “The Greater New York Taxi Association (GNYTA) enthusiastically supports Assembly Member Kellner's plan which honors New York's moral, ethical and legal obligation to provide wheelchair accessible service for New Yorkers, while preserving the financial integrity of the medallion system in which thousands of New Yorkers have invested their lives,” said Ethan Gerber, Executive Director of the Greater New York Taxi Association. “It creates a borough medallion which will provide the same great service for the entire City as that which is enjoyed in Manhattan, and will raise far more revenue for New York than the misguided bill which gives away permits and which will result in poor ungovernable service, a doomed auction, and the squandering of opportunity to raise millions for the City and keep the promises made by New York in prior auctions.”


“The Access-for-All-Taxi-and-Livery-Plan will help propel Hispanic and other minority livery drivers and minority-owned bases up the economic ladder rather than scraping and crawling and getting nowhere which will happen under the current permit plan,” said Fernando Mateo, Founder and Spokesman of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. “We support this plan because it is fair for livery drivers and bases, our yellow taxicab members and for thousands of people with disabilities who deserve more accessible cabs and liveries in all five boroughs.” “The Taxicab Service Association is in full support of Assemblyman Micah Kellner’s Taxi and Livery Plan. The plan is a practical solution to bring street hail service to people in all five boroughs and at the same time, increasing the availability of street hail service to the disabled community throughout the city,” said Richard Kay, President of the Taxicab Service Association, an association of credit unions that provide medallion loans. “Like all small business owners, yellow taxi drivers take pride in their work and are eager to serve their customers,” said Vincent Sapone, Managing Director of the League of Mutual Taxi Owners. “We’re proud to support Assemblyman Kellner’s bill, which will improve access for everyone from Brooklyn to the Bronx, regardless of physical limitations.” “Assemblyman Kellner’s plan strikes the optimal balance between the needs of New York City’s disabled riders, the interests of outer-borough residents, and the livelihoods of 50,000 small business yellow taxi owners and drivers,” said David Pollack, Executive Director of the Committee for Taxi Safety. “The Taxis for All Campaign is elated that the 1,500 new medallions will all be designated as wheelchair accessible taxis, increasing them from less than 2 to 12%; as well by the creation of street hail liveries with 20% of those 6,000 vehicles being wheelchair accessible,” said Edith Prentiss, Chair of the Taxis for All Campaign. “But we are disappointed with the continued lack of wheelchair accessibility in liveries (73 out of 30,000) which serve a significant portion of all New Yorker including the disability community. We look forward to participating on the Task Force whose goal would hopefully be to examine how to make the transition to a fully accessible yellow taxi fleet and a substantially more accessible livery fleet within a short time frame [or: by 2016], a goal shared by the industry and advocates for the disabled alike.” See attached fact sheet for more details about the plan and a comparison between A8496 and A4ATL. ###


Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan Fact Sheet August 2, 2011

Q. What’s the difference between the current system, the “livery street hail” bill and the “Access-for-All Taxi and Livery plan”? A. See chart below:

Yellow Taxis

Outer-borough Livery

Current System 13, 237 taxis 231 accessible (1.7%) 30,000 vehicles approx. 75 accessible (.2%)

Livery Street Hail Bill (A8496) 1,500 new medallions 569 are accessible 38% are accessible, 5.4% of all taxis 30,000 new street hail permits 0 are accessible 0% are accessible

Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan 1,500 new medallions 1,500 are accessible 100% are accessible, 12% of all taxis 6,000 new street hail medallions 1,200 are accessible 20% are accessible

Sources: Taxi and Limousine Commission and www.assembly.state.ny.us

Q. Why is this plan so important to implement now? A. The A4ATL plan is important because it requires more taxis and livery street hail cars to be accessible in a short period of time. Also, yellow medallion sales are incredibly rare. There have been only three of these sales in the last 75 years. Q. What is the difference between the 1,500 yellow taxi medallions in the Livery Street Hail bill (A8496) and in the A4ATL plan? A. In the A4ATL plan, 100% the new 1,500 yellow medallions will be accessible, while in A8496, only 569 (38%) are accessible. Q. How will the establishment of an outer-borough “livery street hail medallion” system work? A. The new 6,000 medallions would be only for hailing cabs on the streets of the outer-boroughs and Northern Manhattan. Similar to yellow taxicab medallions, they will be fully transferable and sold at a low offering price. 1,200 of these medallions would be wheelchair accessible. The current bill, A8496, offers no accessible livery service in the outer-boroughs or in Northern Manhattan, in large part because the “permit-based” structure of that bill is not conducive to incentivizing accessible service. Q. Who would be able to buy these new “livery street hail medallions”? A. The new plan gives the existing livery drivers and base owners and the general public the opportunity to purchase the new medallions. • 2,000 would be sold to livery drivers with 3 years in good standing with the TLC, of which 400 would be accessible. • 2,000 would be offered to livery bases with 3 years in good standing with the TLC, of which 400 would be accessible. • 2,000 of the outer borough medallions would be offered to the general public, of which 400 would be accessible. Q. How long would it take for the A4ATL plan to be the implemented? A. The time-frame is the same as the Livery Street Hail bill (A8496). The street hail medallions will begin being sold immediately upon the enactment of the legislation, and the yellow medallion sale will begin July 2012. Q. How much revenue does the Access-for-All Taxi and Livery Plan raise? A. This new plan would raise at least $1 billion for the City and exceed the revenue of the Livery Street Hail bill (A8496) because the taxi industry and financiers support the A4ATL plan. It also has the benefit of saving the MTA money.


Kellner Urges Cuomo’s Support on Major Step for Civil Rights of New Yorkers with Disabilities