Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wheelchair accessible taxis to debut in King Co. Washington

King County, Washington is implementing a trial accessible taxi service with lowered floor minivans. The demonstration project aims to:
  • Assess the need for accessible taxicabs and estimate how many may be necessary to provide responsive service;
  • Test the economic viability of privately owned and operated wheelchair accessible taxicabs that can provide on-demand service to private-pay passengers at standard taxi rates; and
  • Evaluate the operation of the side-loading vehicles, the dispatch system, and other logistical issues.
More accessible cabs is a good thing. But I hope initial service is good enough that it is practical to use so that when the analysis is done, the need for continuing and enhancing the service is clear. So if you're in King County, call an accessible cab. (Photo by Mary Thorman via morguefile.com)

3 Comments:

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Chi said...

Great blog! And much needed. Here in Costa Rica we have an organization devoted to making travel accessible to persons with disabilities. Kosta Roda arranges tours especially for such people and works hard to encourage hotels and other tourist related facilities to make things easier for people in wheelchairs, the blind, and the deaf. One of the hardest things is convincing the travel industry and the government that people with disabilities are not all impoverished and living on tiny pensions or having to beg for a living! We are making progress, but it is slow. I, myself, have given classes to tourism organizations on how to make their enterprises wheelchair friendly. My own home is totally wheelchair accessible - a first in the area. No one knew anything about how to design and build such a house. I had to do most of it myself and worked closely with the architect and builder. After the main walls were in place, I made them all get into my wheelchair and navigate around everywhere to see how much room was needed for doorways, how much turn-around space was needed, and so forth. I had them try to plug lamps into outlets and turn on light switches at various levels. I think they learned a lot. Now let's hope they put what they learned into practice!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger darrenh said...

"One of the hardest things is convincing the travel industry and the government that people with disabilities are not all impoverished and living on tiny pensions or having to beg for a living!"

You nailed it there Chi. I don't think more accomodating structures etc., especially when being built new, are that much pricier AND they would bring in more custoemrs. Travelers with disabilities showing that there is a market is an important way of making the change happen. But groups like Kosta Roda are very much needed too.

 
At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Ziggi said...

The issue of accessible cabs seems to be starting to pick up some interest. A close friend and colleague of mine recently got involved in heading up a national campaign (Taxis For All- North America. http://www.unitedspinal.org/advocacy/taxisforall) to build awareness on this issue. It was a slow starter but seems to be building up interest steadily. I'm not quite sure if the ambulatory population clearly understands the impact accessible taxis would have on independence for wheelchair users. I guess we are going to find out. Great blog Darren! Keep getting the word out.

 

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