Sometimes we make the mistake of believing that the only heroes out there are the people we watch on television, read about in news reports, or see in the movies. The truth is that each one of us has the ability to become a hero to someone. Opportunities for heroism are everywhere!
Accessibility refers to people’s ability to reach goods, services and activities. Wheelchair accessible transportation service refers to the ability of people in need of wheelchair accessible vehicles to reach goods, services and activities, which is the ultimate goal of just about all transportation activity. Many factors affect wheelchair accessibility, including mobility (physical movement), the quality and affordability of transport options and transport system connectivity. The provision of Wheelchair Accessible transportation service is a problem in New York City and has been for a very long time. With such a heavy reliance upon public transportation and private for-hire transportation, wheelchair users in New York City deserve a better system then the one that is currently unavailable. The ability of those who need wheelchair accessible vehicles to be transported from point A to point B is a problem, but is also one that can be solved with the right information and an open mind.
Dr. Avik Kabessa is the CEO of Carmel Car and Limousine Service and a founding member of the Livery Round Table, Inc., a trade organization of livery/car service bases. He has true compassion for those who need increased mobility. For many years, Dr. Kabessa has worked tirelessly to create a solution to the problem of the provision of increased mobility and independence for transportation riders who need greater wheelchair accessible service. A number of years ago, Dr. Kabessa came up with the solution, which is a Central Dispatch Center for those who need wheelchair accessible service. Dr. Kabessa came up with this solution not because it would increase business or because it was the popular thing to do. He did so because he wanted to. Dr. Kabessa knows the for-hire ground transportation industry better than anyone else in New York City. He took his decades of experience and came up with the idea for a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Central Dispatch Center that would provide equivalent service for those in need of wheelchair accessible vehicles….and all of this was done with the intention that those who need wheelchair accessible vehicles would not have to bear any additional costs. In essence, Dr. Kabessa created a solution whereby the private for-hire ground transportation industry in New York City would bear the additional costs associated with providing more wheelchair accessible vehicles for the purpose of providing better and more available wheelchair accessible service.
Dr. Kabessa continues to work tirelessly with other members of the for-hire vehicle industry in New York City to make the Central Dispatch Center a reality. But why did he do this? What does he gain from engaging in such a venture. People always look for some underlying motive. In this case, there is no underlying motive. The answer lies in the reality that every now and then people perform random acts of kindness that involve spontaneous, selfless good deeds, often performed for total strangers, in order to make their lives a little bit better. Dr. Kabessa knows that those who utilize wheelchairs need better wheelchair accessible transportation service. He knows of the need and has a genuine concern for those in need. Dr. Kabessa is ready, willing and able to defend this moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk and all is done without expectation of reward.
Most people can recognize when someone else is in need, but the difference between the average person and a hero is the one who recognizes when someone else is in need and one who actually takes action to help those in need. Dr. Avik Kabessa is a hero. For the sake of those in need of greater wheelchair accessible transportation service, I truly hope the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission takes Dr. Kabessa up on his offer and allows him and the other for-hire vehicle industry leaders to create the Central Dispatch Center.