Cab drivers, riders wait to find out if more taxis will accommodate wheelchairs

    You’ve probably heard the rumblings about making Philadelphia’s cabs wheelchair accessible. But do you know the full story?

    If not, then it’s luck for you that Tom MacDonald spent part of yesterday at a hearing about the very issue. There, the Parking Authority, cab drivers and customers weighed in on the matter, which isn’t as clear-cut as you might think.
    Consider some of the numbers:

    There are about 1.5 million people in Philadelphia
    And just 1,600 cabs to serve them
    Only four of those cabs can accommodate wheelchairs
    Cab drivers must buy their own vehicles, and the handicap accessible ones cost between $30,000 and $50,000

    Ideas were floated yesterday for how to better serve wheelchair-bound customers without emptying drivers’ pockets. The PPA wants 300 cabs to make the switch this year and the rest to do so by 2016, but a ruling wont come for another month.

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