General Motors Corp. is unleashing a new taxi fleet service to transport persons with mobility-restricting disabilities or spinal cord injuries. The introduction will coincide with the celebration of 100 years of taxi cabs in New York City. The first wheelchair-accessible cab approved for taxi use will make its public debut at the 2007 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
“General Motors is dedicated to making automotive transportation easier and more accessible for the millions of persons with disabilities,” said John Gaydash, the director of marketing for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “With the debut of our new lowered-floor van for taxicabs, we are giving New Yorkers with disabilities a key element in maintaining independence – mobility.”
The Chevrolet Uplander TC was upgraded by El Dorado National, GM’s approved upfitter, to make pass the taxi cab standard. The cab features a stainless steel floor that is 12 inches lower than the conventional. It also offers a full 58 inches of interior height without a raised roof.
“By lowering the floor instead of raising the roof we increase accessibility and keep the center of gravity low, which improves the safety of the vehicle,” said Gaydash. “This creates nearly five feet of height in the rear passenger compartment, allowing both able and less able passengers to enter and exit with ease.”
The Uplander TC is made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lowered-floor of the cab is engineered to be used by airport shuttle services, private livery companies, rehabilitation and extended care facilities to further mobility concerns. The vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable safety standards in the United States and in Canada.
The modified Chevrolet Uplander TC is equipped with GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, optional fold-down, middle-row seat, an improved rear-seat capacity for superb passenger load, an easy-to-use sturdy manual fold-out ramp, a swing-out gate for quick access for all passengers, safe, commercial-grade non-slip flooring made of high-quality vinyl, high-strength tie-down belt system made by Q’Straint, the industry benchmark for safety, ensures that a wheelchair or motorized chair is snugly secured.
The Chevrolet Uplander TC (Taxi Cab) standard equipment includes the 12-inch lowered floor, stainless steel with undercoating, ADA-compliant, a 56-inch ramp entry door height, a 54-inch by 30-inch fold-out, a swing-away ramp, rear axle automatic air suspension system, stainless steel entry threshold or safety yellow, auxiliary fuse block for taxi equipment, interior flat-mounted compact spare tire, commercial-grade Altro vinyl flooring, transmission or door interlock system that complements Chevy door handle, ADA safety lighting, manual driver seat or removable footrest, rear heat and A/C conversion, third-row seat modification with LATCH, backup alarm, and an emergency exit rear hatch release.
It can be recalled that the largest automaker has launched its Mobility Program in 1991 to aid transportation options to individuals with disabilities. Earlier, the Springboard Consulting and Work Life Matters magazine in New York honored GM for its dedication to the special needs community.
The automaker has been the automotive industry’s sales leader for 76 years. In the previous year, it sold about 9.1 million cars and trucks under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall brands.