Bryan Cohen Dec. 9, 2013, 7:18pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman praised New York City's agreement Friday that resolves a class action lawsuit and significantly increases the number of accessible cabs in the city.

The agreement settled a suit brought by advocates for the disabled and will ensure that half of the city's 13,000 yellow cabs will be accessible to individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

"This agreement is an important step to ensuring equal access to taxis for all New Yorkers, including those with disabilities," Schneiderman said. "Its implementation would also meaningfully address issues under investigation by my office."

Schneiderman's Civil Rights Bureau is looking into accessibility requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act because only a small portion of medallion cabs are wheelchair accessible. The bureau sent a letter related to the inquiry to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The letter said that Congress passed the ADA to provide a mandate to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities. The bureau said that discrimination in key areas, such as transportation, inhibits independent living, equal opportunity and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

Schneiderman said his office would consider suspending its inquiry if the accessibility rule is approved.

"Upon approval of the accessibility rule, which should not impose new burdens on riders or drivers, my office will consider the suspension of our investigation into taxi accessibility issues," Schneiderman said.

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