By Jamila Bey
Twenty wheelchair-accessible taxicabs will be in service full-time in the District by January.
None of D.C.'s 6,500 taxis can serve passengers who use wheelchairs, and require a ramp or a lift to enter a vehicle. D.C. will get its first four wheelchair-accessible taxicabs next month, but not full-time.
Wendy Klancher is a planner with the Transportation Board. She says the process was hard. "We didn't get the funding secured until 2008," says Klancher. "It's about $1.2 million in funding to get this pilot up and running. We also got delayed because of the bankruptcy of Chrysler and that put us back in securing the minivans. We're excited it's here now, though."
Bobby Coward lives in the district and says he's excited that his trips to the airport won't be as precarious. "If you had a flight and you discover that the elevators aren't working in the Metro system that means you can't get in," says Coward. "Or if you get to the National Airport Metro station and find out that an elevator's not operating, then you can't get out."
Most of the areas surrounding D.C. do have wheelchair-accessible taxi service, and have been able to accommodate some requests for trips in D.C.
The new cab service will be provided by Yellow Paratransit and Liberty- Royal Cab.