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- Featuring Terry Moakley, Advocate for Accessible Transportation -

More Accessible Transportation is Just Down the Road

By Terry Moakley

Terry Moakley began advocating for accessible transportation for the New York City-based United Spinal Association in 1976. Three years later, Moakley was one of the plaintiffs in a New York State lawsuit that resulted in a 1985 victory to make the cityís subway and bus systems accessible to people with disabilities, including wheelchair users, and to begin a paratransit service for those who could not use mass transit. This win was a precursor to the transportation provisions in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Terry Moakley Exiting an Accessible Vehicle of the
Future - The Standard Taxi 

But a 1992 business trip to Las Vegas planted the seed in Moakley for a new
transportation advocacy quest - accessible taxicabs. When he went to the taxi line at the Vegas airport planning to move into a four-door sedan cab using his sliding board, the dispatcher asked if he would like a wheelchair-accessible cab. Ten minutes later, a full-sized van arrived equipped with a lift, tie-downs, and even a meter to calculate the fare!

Moakley was hooked. Soon after, he helped to organize the New York City Taxis For All Campaign coalition. This groupís hard work led to the approximately 140
accessible yellow taxis operating now in the city, and this number will rise to 230
accessible cabs by yearís end.

Moakley is also an avid traveler, so he knows that locating accessible ground transportation and adaptive equipment that can be rented are two big challenges when he goes on the road. Fortunately, United Spinal Association operates its Able To Travel program and the USA Tech Guide database, www.abletotravel.org and www.usatechguide.org respectively. He and other wheelchair users can get help in finding a transportation company with accessible vehicles or the right piece of assistive technology at their destination by utilizing these valuable resources.

And on the taxi front, United Spinal operates an online advocacy project called Taxis For All-North America, www.taxisforallNA.org, to educate wheelchair users and others with disabilities about the existing and coming accessible taxi possibilities. Moakley recommends a visit to www.vpgautos.com for a look at one of the accessible vehicles of the future - the Standard Taxi.

Moakley strongly believes that in the near future, accessible vehicles like the Standard Taxi will be available to disabled and older travelers all over the world.

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