NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, the City of New Orleans Taxicab and For-Hire Vehicle Bureau announced that eight drivers will be awarded new Accessible Taxicab Certificates of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPNC). The new CPNC, part of the City’s comprehensive taxicab reforms, will expand transportation options for people with disabilities by permitting qualified drivers to operate taxicabs that meet American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
“These new CPNCs are another tangible reflection of our commitment to safe and accessible taxicab service to our residents and visitors,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “They also award the entrepreneurial spirit of a new group of drivers who will be performing a valuable service in our city."
“We are extremely happy to award these new CPNCs to some of the city’s most important ambassadors,” said Malachi Hull, Director of the City of New Orleans Taxicab and For-Hire Bureau. “The new taxicabs will be on the streets by December 20 and will provide for the spontaneous transportation needs of people with disabilities.”
In 2012, the City Council passed sweeping taxicab reforms recommended by the Landrieu Administration and Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. The reforms have improved vehicle standards, increased safety measures for drivers and passengers, and strengthened permitting regulations and ethical standards.
“The impact that accessible taxicabs will have is two-fold,” said Councilmember Palmer. “First, it provides an extraordinarily improved and accessible service to elderly and mobility challenged citizens and visitors. Second, the implementation of the permits is another step in an over 3 year effort to innovate and reform the City’s taxicab and for-hire vehicle industry, and create small business opportunities for drivers to own their own vehicles and CPNCs.”
Under City ordinance, CPNCs are required to operate all for hire vehicles, which include taxicabs, pedicabs, animal drawn carriages, courtesy, limousine, non-emergency medical transportation, general charter vehicles, and sightseeing vehicles. These regulations are in place to ensure that New Orleans residents and visitors have access to safe, efficient, reliable, and accessible for hire transportation.
Accessible Taxicab drivers can pick up other passengers, but they must give priority to service requests from people with disabilities and those who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters. Accessible Taxicab drivers cannot accept another fare while en route to a service call by a person with a disability.
City code requires that CPNCs be in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle. This new opportunity gives drivers who have not previously held CPNCs a chance to secure one.
“I feel honored and lucky,” said Gary Rogers, who will be among the first drivers awarded the new CPNC. He learned about the opportunity to apply for Accessible Taxicab CPNC only days ago when he came to City Hall to apply for a regular CPNC. “I became aware of the need when I used to transport my mother, who lived to be 97 years old and was very frail. When I wasn’t available, she didn’t have an accessible means of transportation and that stuck in my mind. I thought that this was a great opportunity for me, and that it would be a good way to help the community and the whole image of the city. We need purpose-built accessible taxicabs.”
To qualify for the new CPNCs, drivers had to be pre-approved for the purchase of an accessible vehicle that complies with ADA guidelines regarding door heights, interior clearances and other specifications. Vehicles that have been modified or custom-built must fully comply with all relevant Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Vehicle models must be approved by the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Citizens with Disabilities.