Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis Arrive In D.C. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis Arrive In D.C.

Play associated audio
Taxi driver Jim Lane secures his first passenger, Bobby Coward, in his new wheelchair-accessible cab.
David Schultz
Taxi driver Jim Lane secures his first passenger, Bobby Coward, in his new wheelchair-accessible cab.

A taxi driver is strapping Bobby Coward's wheelchair into a brand new mini-van taxi with a ramp on the back. Coward has been confined to a wheelchair ever since a car accident two decades ago. He says these new taxis, 20 of them, open up a whole new world for him.

"It's letting the world know that people with disabilities are now wanting to be included into society. We're no longer restricted to our homes. We can get out and move within our country," Coward says.

Unlike the MetroAccess transit service, these taxis are on-demand 24 hours a day. Other suburban areas already have fleets of accessible taxis, so D.C. is a little late to the game.

An industry executive says the way taxis work in the District, where each individual driver is an independent contractor, made working out the business model more difficult.

But now, with a $1 million federal subsidy for the 20 cabs, they're here. And Coward says it's not a moment too soon.

"It's impact's a giant leap. It's historical," he says.

The regional planners who secured the subsidy say they hope to expand to more taxis and maybe even reduce the demand for MetroAccess, something Metro has long been struggling to do.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Oct. 2

A play takes a fictional look at historical figures. An exhibit explores how friendships between writers, painters and musicians may have affected an art movement.
NPR

From Kale To Pale Ale, A Love Of Bitter May Be In Your Genes

Researchers have found a gene that affects how strongly you experience bitter flavors. And those who aren't as sensitive eat about 200 more servings of vegetables per year.
NPR

Top Spending PAC Aims To Keep The Senate In Democratic Hands

Senate Majority PAC, run by allies of Senate Majority Leader Reid, is the top-spending superPAC in the midterm election season. Its donors are essentially a compilation of the party's big-donor base.
NPR

Tech Firms Chip Away At Credit Cards' Share Of Transactions

Companies including PayPal and Apple are competing to convince merchants and consumers to use their swipe-and-go mobile payment systems. Credit card breaches may speed up the use of digital wallets.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.