One new wheelchair-accessible taxi is now cruising the streets of Philadelphia.
Dozens more are on the way, but disability rights advocates say that is not nearly enough.
While 50 special wheelchair taxi medallions have been sold, and 11 more will be auctioned this year, only seven of 1,600 cabs in Philadelphia could accommodate a wheelchair.
Disability advocates were on hand in South Philadelphia as the new Dodge minivan was inspected and its medallion attached to the hood.
Unlike regular cabs, the accessible taxis all must be new, said Jim Ney, director of the taxi and limo division of the Philadelphia Parking Authority,
“Currently a taxicab can be placed into service up to 135,000,” he said.
With only a handful of accessible cabs on the street, Allen Holdsworth said it’s difficult for him to be sure he can go somewhere … and get back home too.
“There’s still a long way to go in Philly,” he said. At least it’s a start. You will never be a world-class city until you have an accessible cab service.”
Philadelphia Parking Authority head Vince Fenerty said he had to use a wheelchair for a few months as a teenager.
“I can remember when I couldn’t get into a cab with a wheelchair when I was 18 years old, when my mother tried,” he said.
New regulations pending in Harrisburg would mandate that, as they are replaced, all city taxis become wheelchair accessible, and Fenerty said he supports that change.