Network Update

November 2008


Dear Disabilities Network Members & Supporters,   Just wanted to update you on what we have been working on.  Your support has played a fundamental role in these successes!

Taxi Forum Dates Announced!

Access-A-Ride Fare Hikes Would Be UNCONSCIONABLE, Says Network in Daily News

State Creates Incentive for Taxi Owners to Go Accessible

Working for Greater Visibility for People with Disabilities in Media

Network Wins Union Square Award    


Taxi Forum Dates Announced!  

The Disabilities Network is organizing NYC's first-ever Five-Borough Series of Forums on Accessible Taxi & Livery service in November and December.  We are pleased to announce the dates and locations!

11/19: College of Staten Island
11/25: Queens College


Long Island University in Brooklyn
12/3: Lehman College in the Bronx

Borough of Manhattan Community College*

                *Will be recorded for broadcast on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network!  

Exact locations here.

Panelists will include representatives of Taxis for All, Easter Seals, the Taxi & Limousine Commission, and Carmel Car & Limousine Service, owner of a Ride for All, a private accessible van service.  Topics will include the TLC's Accessible Dispatch Pilot Project, which allows wheelchair users to call 311 to get an accessible taxi, and solution-based approaches to increasing transportation options for New Yorkers with physical, visual and hearing disabilities.  

ASL and CART (captioning for hard-of-hearing and deaf attendees) provided at each Forum.  

To all of you who donated to the Taxi Appeal  - your support made organizing these Forums possible!  

Access-A-Ride Fare Hikes UNCONSCIONABLE

Says Network in the Daily News

The Daily News reports that the MTA's proposed budget would DOUBLE the fare New Yorkers with disabilities pay to use Access-A-Ride, the shared ride paratransit service.  Every week, about 25,000 riders use this service because they cannot use the largely inaccessible public transportation system.

In the article, Network Advocacy Director Lawrence Carter-Long called this prospect "unconscionable ... Access-A-Ride users by and large are at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale ... people with the least amount of money."  More...

To keep up-to-date on how the economic crisis is affecting people with disabilities, subscribe to the Network's FREE LISTSERV!  The Listserv disseminates valuable news and resources to NYC's disability community and beyond. 

State Creates Incentive for Taxi Owners to Go Accessible

Starting in November, wheelchair accessible cabs can move to the front of the dispatch line at JFK Airport.  This will create an economic incentive for taxi owners to buy accessible cabs and put them on the road.  About 230 of NYC's 13,000 street-hail taxis are wheelchair accessible - fewer than 2%, but a TEN-FOLD increase over the number on the road in 2005.  The Port Authority of NY & NJ will sponsor this pilot program.  

The Disabilities Network has been working with Network Members like Taxis for All & Easter Seals and the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to get accessible cabs on the road and more accessible transit overall.  Congratulations to all of you who have worked for this.

We commend the Port Authority, the TLC and other policymakers for supporting this important step forward!  

Female wheelchair user holds hand-lettered sign: "IT'S NOT ABOUT BEING 'PC.'  IT'S ABOUT DIGNITY."Working for Greater Visibility for People with Disabilities in Media  

If the issues of people with disabilities are to be understood, the nondisabled majority must be able to see and understand our stories.  In the wake of nationwide controversy over the depiction of people with developmental disabilities in DreamWorks film Tropic Thunder (more on that here), this idea has been gaining momentum.  

Building upon the success of our innovative disTHIS! Film Series, the Network has continued to lead the way in increasing media representation of people with disabilities.  We:

Photo courtesy of the Self Advocacy Association of New York State.    

Logo for Union Square Awards.  Graphic shows the words "UNION SQUARE AWARDS" in white on a red, rectangular background.  White lines cut diagonally across the bottom half of the rectangle under the words.

Network Wins Union Square Award  

The Network is honored to announce that it has been selected to receive a 2008 Union Square Award.    Established by an anonymous donor in 1998, the Union Square Awards recognize grassroots organizations that respond to pressing social issues in New York City. 

The Disabilities Network and its founders were selected based on the organization's work to unite the physical, visual and hearing disability community to voice its concerns and have a place in public policymaking.   Union Square Awardees have included innovative organizations working with immigrants, youth, low-income people and people with HIV.  We are honored to join their ranks!    

We continue to fundraise for these and other projects.  Please become a Member, renew your Membership or make an extra donation today.  Thank you again for your support.  

Want to know more about the Disabilities Network? Read our latest Newsletter.




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