Wheelchair-accessible taxis sought in Philadelphia

Advocacy groups demonstrated in front of the Philadelphia Convention Center Tuesday to protest the lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis in the city.

Juliet Marsala, executive director of Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, said she wants the city to set aside 50 taxi permits for ramp-equipped vans. Her group filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying the Philadelphia Parking Authority is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s a law, it should be followed. So we have tried to come to the table multiple times, multiple situations,” she said. “With Gov. Rendell, we almost had funding for accessible taxicabs and now we’ve taken steps backward and we’re not willing to go backward anymore.”

Parking Authority director Vince Fenerty, who said he is aware of the suit, said he has no authority to place restrictions on the city’s 1,600 already existing permits. He said issuing new ones would take an act of the state Legislature.

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Lawmaker Mark Cohen introduced legislation to so that last year, but the bill died in committee.

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