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Access Denied: Philadelphia Has No Handicapped-Accessible Taxis

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia doesn’t have a single taxi cab on its streets that is accessible to handicapped riders. A local cab company says it’s willing to provide them, but it’s waiting for permission from the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Everett Abitbol calls his proposed fleet of handicapped accessible cabs, “Freedom Taxi.”

“Taxis actually provide freedom to people who are disabled, if there are wheelchair accessible cabs in this town.”

Abitbol says advocates for the disabled have been trying to get accessible cabs in Philadelphia for 20 years, with no success. He says he took the first step by investing his own money in refitting an initial group of taxis, but he can’t get permission from the Parking Authority to put them on the street.

A Parking Authority spokeswoman says they are still studying the dispatching technology Abitbol wants to use, but Abitbol says they are moving too slowly. “Everyday that things are sitting are days that people can’t get back and forth.”

Several access advocates have supported Abitbol’s petition and Jack Ferguson of the Convention and Visitors Bureau says it would be good for the city economically as well.

“It would be an attribute that we have thought about all the people we serve.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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