Phoenix passes nation’s strongest disability protections

Above: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Politics | 3 Mar, 2016 |

Mayor Greg Stanton and leaders in the Phoenix disability community lauded improvements to the Ground Transportation Policy for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport approved Tuesday night.

The Phoenix City Council approved the new policy on a 5-4 vote, which includes the nation’s strongest requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act for ground transportation at the airport.

City staff will now draft ordinance language, which the Council is expected to pass in May before the policy change will take effect.

The updated policy allows ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at the airport. It also now ensures that travelers with disabilities can arrange to be picked up at the airport with wheelchair-accessible vehicles, including from ride-sharing services, within 30 minutes.

“Sky Harbor will be the largest airport in the country to require every transportation provider to make arrangements for those in the disability community,” Stanton said. “This is not just the right thing to do. Disability travel is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and members of this community should not just be handed a list of phone numbers in hopes that they’ll somehow find transportation.”

Stanton added, “This is simply the right thing to do for all Phoenix residents.”

Other advocates and leaders in the disability community also weighed in on the vote.

“Accessibility is critical for everyone. I logged over 75,000 air miles in the last year alone, and people with disabilities represent more than $17 billion in travel and entertainment, and we need all of that here in Phoenix. We just had a disability conference in January where we used 600 room nights at the Sheraton downtown, and it went so well that we’ve been asked to host it again. This ground transportation policy can only be good for the entire community, and especially for people with disabilities,” said Jennifer Longdon, former chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues and member of the State Independent Living Council of Arizona.

Phil Pangrazio, President & CEO of Ability360 said of the proposal, “Although I think Uber, Lyft and any ride share business should be required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and provide comparable accessible service to people with disabilities wherever they operate, I think requiring them to meet the needs of disabled air travelers at Sky Harbor Airport is a commendable action by the City of Phoenix.”

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