February 15, 2011
The Honorable David Yassky
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission
40 Rector Street
New York, NY 10006
Dear Commissioner Yassky:
I am writing to urge you and the Commission to require every new New York City taxi to have an accessible payment option for people with a visual impairment. If the New York City taxi of the future is to be truly accessible, it must provide people with a visual impairment an independent way to pay their fare using a credit or debit card.
Unfortunately, under the current payment system people with a visual impairment cannot pay their fare independently using a credit or debit card. A person with a visual impairment should not have to seek the assistance of a driver or fellow passenger because the payment system is inaccessible. There are a number of systems, including text to speech or the options currently in use at most ATM’s and Metrocard machines that allow a person with a visual impairment to use a headset to complete their transaction independently.
Furthermore, the Access-A-Ride program recently began a pilot program in which Access-A-Ride users, some who are visually impaired, have been given pre-paid debit cards to pay their fare. The early feedback from riders participating in the pilot has centered on the difficulty of using their debit cards in the inaccessible system. If Access-A-Ride was to further expand this program, people with a visual impairment must have the ability to pay their fare using an accessible payment system.
Again, I urge you to require that all New York City Taxis have an accessible payment system for customers with a visual impairment. Thank you for your time and consideration. I stand ready to work with you to make sure that the New York City taxi of tomorrow is accessible for all, including people with a visual impairment.
Lester Marks, MPA
Director of Government Affairs
cc:The Honorable James Vacca, Chair, Transportation Committee NYC Council
The Honorable Matt Sapolin, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities