Paratransit Collides with Politics in Philly

Thanks in part to federal grants, wheelchair-accessible taxi service is available in most major American cities - San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., but not in Philadelphia, where the issue is stalled in the statehouse.

Paratransit is not available 24 hours a day in most cities. Wheelchair users in Philadelphia are lobbying for accessible taxi service to fill the gaps. A new bill making the rounds in the state legislature would make that happen, but its bogged down by a requirement for taxi-medallion owners to provide workers'-comp insurance for their drivers.

The squabble has led to other concerns over disabled access to transit in Philly. Damon Martin has cerebral palsy and gets around in a motorized wheelchair. He tells the Philadelphia Daily News "I'm glad we have access to public transportation, but the rudeness that a disabled person has to cope with on a daily basis while getting on the bus is unconscionable - not only from passengers but from drivers as well." That rudeness, he added, can translate into denied access, depending on the riders' and the driver's mood.

Full Story: Philly wheelchair users' lament: No taxis

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