Philly taxi situation under review in City Council

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 A man climbs into a cab at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

A man climbs into a cab at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

With so much attention focusing on the ride-sharing company Uber, you might forget there are still hundreds of regular taxis in Philadelphia.

City Council is taking a look at problems affecting riders and drivers.

Hailing a cab in Philadelphia is a bit like playing roulette, said David Alperstein of the Greater Philadelphia Taxi Association.

“There are wide disparities in the taxi experience in Philadelphia,” he said Tuesday during a hearing before City Council. “Depending of the luck of the draw, an arriving visitor at 30th Street Station can hop into one of the best-appointed cabs in America or something approaching a jalopy.”

One major concern is the dearth of cabs available for the disabled. Vince Fenerty of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates the taxi industry in the city, says medallion owners who rent their license to drivers are refusing to upgrade their equipment.

“Part of the money, the value of the medallion, is supposed to go back into the cab, which we are trying to educate the medallion owners that’s what it is for, it’s not to live in a high-rise in Rittenhouse Square or Manhattan,” he said.

The Parking Authority is preparing to auction 45 new medallions for wheelchair-accessible cabs this year adding to the seven already on the road. If the cabs are popular, more medallions will be issued.

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