|trouble (trouble) wrote,|
@ 2010-11-10 04:26 am UTC
|Entry tags:||angry for a reason, disability, disability: disabled people don't exist|
Livery Drivers Protest Wheelchair Service Requirements (In New York) (There's a video at the link but it's basically the text in video form.)
"It's really unfair that Taxi and Limousine Commission and the commissioner would be punishing us by fining us thousands of dollars for not being able to respond to someone on a wheelchair within three minutes like we would with a regular person," Mateo said.
"We've seen cutbacks in Access-a-Ride and now we're being told we can't access the Livery system. We're being held hostage here," said Brooklyn Independence Center For The Disabled Executive Director Marvin Wasserman.
"We are suspending all service to the wheelchair community," said New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers President Fernando Mateo.
[Oh, someone - damn, I can't remember who - used to do a blog series called "the chair or the man" or something, which pointed out all the time people who are wheelchair users are referred to instead as "wheelchairs" instead of "people". Headlines like "wheelchair denied access to bus services", because the wheelchair apparently wanted to go someplace. It's a fascinating little trick of language.]
The sad thing is not that people get up in the morning and think "I know, I'm going to go down and protest the horrors of being asked to carry a cripple in my taxi", it's that this really isn't that abnormal. So much fucking hate for people with disabilities.
Now, I did some searching, being that US laws and stuff confuse me. This story at ABC Local says the protest is actually that they can't make all 40,000 sedans wheelchair accessible. Which, yes, I guess that would be hard if this was the first time you'd heard of it, but the law requiring these taxis to be wheelchair accessible and treat people who use wheelchairs the same as *cough* "regular people" has been on the books since 2001 (this is not the ADA, btw). It's now 2010, and the end of it at that, so I'm a bit unsympathetic to the "We didn't bother to follow the law until now! Please don't make us follow the law, it's difficult!" argument.
(You know who else made this argument? Clint Eastwood, in why it was horrible that he was sued about his hotel not being wheelchair accessible 10 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law.)
The ADA doesn't have an enforcement agency. There is no accessibility inspector going around and fining people for not following the law. (The law they're protesting? I bet it only gets enforced when PWD complain.) The only way the law gets enforced is through people with disabilities suing people, who then get all wide-eyed and say "Oh, but... I totally would have followed the law if only I had known this 20 year old controversial law that's mentioned every year and protested by Fox News all the time was on the books! Woe is me, woe! How can I be expected at this late date to actually follow the law!"
There's a whole subset of people who like to talk about how laws requiring accessibility legislates kindness or something - it's again back to the idea that accessibility is a favour that the non-disabled are doing for the poor, pathetic cripples. But if we didn't have to legislate accessibility, then why are so many places that don't have legislation that require accessibility not actually accessible? Halifax has a huge disability community, we have a hospital dedicated to accessibility - the rehab center, strangely enough. If either kindness or market forces or both were to create accessibility out of thin air, Halifax would be the place it would spontaneously generate. And yet, there are two (2) wheelchair accessible taxi cabs in the city, and I have ranted about this before.
It is disgusting that we have to legislate the idea that people with disabilities should have access to just as much as *cough* "regular" people do. Accessibility is something that is valuable because people with disabilities are also valuable. And yet, whenever we finally convince lawmakers to go ahead and pass something, there's always a huge group of people going "woe, my life will become wretched if I have to let cripples into my shop. I may have to put a ramp out or something."
Look, I do feel for people who will end up struggling to put that ramp out in front of their thrice-damned yarn shop. Accessibility is valuable, and thus I do think that some of those taxes that I - and every other person with disabilities in Canada - pay should end up going to support small business owners in getting grants specifically aimed at making their businesses as accessible as possible. Because accessibility is valuable, because people with disabilities are valuable, because people are valuable.
I can't believe this is stuff we still fight for.
[1. By which I mean sales taxes. Income taxes are different. GST rebates only go up so high, and they're guestimates based on reported income, not reported expenditures.]