DC Makes a Big Push for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis

Public transportation isn’t generally known for comfort.  More so, it’s there for convenience and affordability.  When a certain type of public transportation fails to accommodate a certain type of person, it quickly loses all convenience.

While city buses and trains have (in some cities, at least) made large strides towards wheelchair accessibility, vehicles such as taxis have struggled to keep up.

Since most taxis are cars, it’s easy to see where the issue would arise.  But even with the vans, wheelchair accessibility is often lacking.

Recently, New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission started the process of rolling out 2000 wheelchair accessible taxis over the course of 4 years.  That’s a significant step up from the 230 they had previously.

Now, it seems that Washington DC is following in the footsteps of the Big Apple.


A More Accessible Capital

In 2014, there were about 20 wheelchair accessible taxis in DC.  Yes, that’s correct. 20.  Needless to say, that was no good.  Thankfully, the city’s taxi commission issued a mandate saying that all taxi companies need at least 6{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} of their fleets to be wheelchair vans.

This brought the total up to about 100 accessible vans.  Twenty of the companies that didn’t hit the quota were actually told to cease operations until they can meet the 6{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}.

Of course, the end goal is a little higher than 6{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79}.

The commission is offering grants of up to $7500 to drivers and companies who purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle.  If a driver is renting their vehicle, they’re still eligible for $2500.  Participants will have to undergo training so that they can better facilitate people who use wheelchairs.

By December of 2018, companies are expected to have 20{4484a610ba12ad46baec767347073917e486819a83b2d744ced0feda89144e79} of their fleet be wheelchair accessible.

Currently, the taxi commission has $750,o00 in funds set aside.  Taxi companies and drivers have until September 25 or until the funds deplete to apply for grants.  More info can be found at the DC Taxi Commission’s website here.

Approximately 130,000 people in the DC area have a disability.  More accessible transportation means a better, safe life for everyone

What are your experiences with trying to find an accessible taxi?  Share below!

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