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.

NPR

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.
NPR

Sweet: Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm Oil

Two major doughnut chains have bowed to consumer pressure to better police their palm oil purchases. Environmentalists say it's a win for consumers, trees and animals.
WAMU 88.5

Sen. Kaine Proposes Limited Action Against ISIS

The U.S. Senator from Virginia has offered a bill that grants the president the authority to strike ISIS, but it limits it to just one year.
NPR

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.

Leave a Comment

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