Guest Post: Liberty and Taxis for All
You’re stranded and alone. It is 2AM, you’re 10 miles from your home, and there is no bus route you can take back. Most have stopped running anyway. You call for a cab for the eighth time, but there is still not a single vehicle in the whole city to take you home. You have been waiting for three hours, hoping that one will come on duty. All you can do is wait.
It’s a story common to more than 120,000 people with mobility disabilities in Philadelphia. You do everything right — you call for a ride from a taxicab company (often days beforehand, as is the current policy for wheelchair accessible vehicles) and your ride just never shows up. And when they stand you up, you’re stuck waiting on that lonely corner.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s (PPA) Proposed Rulemaking Order 126-11 ”Modern Taxicab Standards” would solve this problem. The new regulation will require all vehicles purchased for taxicab service after a designated date to be wheelchair accessible. If this rule is approved, the precedent of universal accessibility will be set here in Philadelphia, and other cities across the nation will be urged to follow suit. We have waited on that lonely street corner long enough.
Accessibility is a civil right. Twenty-five years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, politicians and businesses alike are still disregarding the rights of people with disabilities. As with every struggle for civil rights, a shift will only occur through the efforts of those with the strength and courage to correct injustice. We must continue the fight.
This regulation is about more than transportation. Being able to utilize a responsive transit system means being able to participate in society. Being heard and understood starts with being able to come to the table. Accessibility is the first step toward awareness and acceptance, and we can’t afford to wait any longer.
Your part starts with submitting a public comment in support of this rulemaking. It starts with you going to the PPA blog and sending an email. The public comment period will end on Monday July 13, 2015, so if accessibility is something that affects you or someone you know, speak up.
Let’s make the City of Brotherly Love the first city in America with a fully accessible, fully integrated taxicab system — with liberty and taxis for all.
Note: The above text was drafted by Taxis For All Philadelphia, an advocacy group promoting unhindered taxicab accessibility for those with mobility disabilities.