Chicago Incentivizing Taxi Companies to Increase Accessibility

For the people who live in the city of Chicago and don’t own a wheelchair accessible vehicle, getting around may become a bit easier in the coming months.

Chicago is definitely not known to be the most wheelchair-friendly city in the world. (Overland Park, KS takes that honor, according to this study.) Many of Chicago’s beaches, CTA stops, and attractions are not the most accessible for people in wheelchairs. What’s worse is that city goers who use a wheelchair find it particularly hard to track down a taxi that can accommodate them.

This is usually a big hurdle that native Chicagoans and tourists alike have to overcome.

New Initiatives to Make the City More Accessible

Just about a week ago, city officials in Chicago announced that they will be making a big push to encourage the taxi and rideshare industries to accommodate more people from the disability community.

There are currently only 170 wheelchair-accessible taxis on the streets of Chicago, which isn’t much for a city of 2.719 million people. But the city plans to add another 200 accessible cabs by the end of 2018. This comes from new legislation being implemented that requires taxi companies to increase their numbers in the near future.

An Extra Push

On top of the new requirements for taxi medallion holding companies, Chicago also hopes to encourage these companies to add more accessible cabs to their fleets by offering financial incentives. These new incentives, announced last week, include eliminating the dispatch fee for wheelchair accessible taxis. The city is also offering a $20,000 subsidy towards the purchase of factory-built accessible vehicles.

The money from these incentives will come from a fund that the taxi industry pays into with fees for trips taken by non-wheelchair accessible taxis.

Great News for Wheelchair Users

It has been a long time coming, but it looks like the city of Chicago is finally getting serious about accommodating the disability community. In the next few years, our team at Rollx Vans hope to see more accessible rail stations, taxis and attractions, and much more in the city.

What do you think of the new incentives? Will they encourage taxi companies to increase the amount of accessible cab in their fleet? Comment below to join the conversation!

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