Interesting read to which I have just posted the following comments on the site: http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/12/15/nyc-will-try-replacing-access-a-ride-vehicles-with-taxis/
You may wish to comment there as well. But if so please do share it with us here.
Let me add this to my earlier comment about how this idea of using taxis for at least 3/4 of all trips by people with some form of mobility impairment – bearing in mind that this is not the first time that these guys over here have gone around this partial block. Two things:
a. The smaller the target group to be served, the higher the costs. Therefore make sure that your service population is as large as possible. This means using the same vehicles, etc, technology, for all users. No problem there for this project I would guess.
b. And here the second key, and of this I know nothing about in the context of your project. The services should to the extent possible be shared. I.e., bringing in both able and disabled riders in the same vehicle (within the limits of practicality, comfort and decency of course). Sharing taxis in 2010 is no huge trick. One obvious key is grouping the riders via mobile telephones, But there are others as you will surely know well.
There is still a place for the dedicated paratransit services such as your apparently more or less awful Access-A-Ride. But they too can benefit from a combination of more entrepreneurship and a good housekeeping in terms of organizing and the technologies used.
That anyway is how it is handled in many parts of the Old World.
World Streets – http://www.WorldStreets.org