What you need to know about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
In New York City, one of the only ways to get a new TLC licence is with a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, or WAV. Here we set out the things you need to consider if you’re looking at driving a WAV, some rough running costs and where you might find wheelchair users in need of a ride.
First, let’s look at what counts as a wheelchair accessible vehicle and some of the minimum requirements.
Please note: The following is true at the time of writing this article on June 23, 2021.
Under TLC rules, your car must pass a WAV inspection before you’re approved to pick up a wheelchair user. Your vehicle must include:
- A ramp with a minimum width of 30 inches, capable of supporting up to 600 lbs
- Doors wide enough to offer proper clearance when a passenger is on the ramp
- Slip-resistant flooring in the interior
- Exit warning system
You can choose to buy a vehicle or lease one. For example, companies such as Fast Track Mobility offer WAVs for rent in Queens that can take between four and six passengers. Lease costs can vary but tend to start at about $300 a week. Full details of what’s needed to pass a WAV evaluation are available here.
How to get WAV trips
TLC’S Accessible Dispatch program was set up to connect New Yorkers who use wheelchairs and mobility aids to accessible taxis at no extra cost. Drivers receive trips from dispatchers based on your GPS location, and fees can be up to $35 in any borough.
Uber drivers can offer rides to wheelchair users through Uber’s dedicated WAV service, alongside UberX and UberXL trips for eligible vehicles.
For drivers on other platforms such as Lyft, customers can request WAV rides through the Access service in the app.
All these services are aimed at promoting New York’s accessibility, so WAV rides are charged the same as other kinds of rides.
Where to pick up WAV rides
Alongside the Dispatch program, many of the usual tourist hotspots in Manhattan and New York are wheelchair-friendly, so it may be that you can pick up WAV rides from your usual tourist routes.
It’s worth bearing in mind the wheelchair-accessible subway stations close to attractions as well, such as 59th Street Columbus Circle Station, Cortlandt Street, Rockefeller Center and Canal Street (including for Ferrara Bakery & Café, a Little Italy institution which is also wheelchair accessible).
Sports fans also enjoy accessible seating and wheelchair access across the major stadiums and venues, including Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, MetLife Stadium, Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center and Red Bull Arena.
At INSHUR, we always want to help our drivers by making sure they’ve got the right coverage. For more on how we can help and to get a TLC insurance quote in minutes, check out INSHUR now.