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Red Tape Puts The Brakes On Handicapped-Accessible Cabs

(credit: Mike DeNardo)

(credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Parking Authority’s plan to force taxicab owners to convert to wheelchair accessibility is now bogged down in bureaucracy.

It was back in January that the Parking Authority announced that 300 of the city’s 1,600 medallion cabs would have to convert this year to handicapped accessibility, with the 300 chosen by lottery.  Executive Director Vince Fennerty at that time said all other cabs would have to be converted by 2016.

Three months later, though, Parking Authority General Counsel Dennis Weldon says the board has yet to actually adopt the rule. He says the details are still being hashed out.

“What we found out is that we can do it, it’s just a question of how we do it, and what the right number is. And we are now dealing much more frequently on this issue with medallion owners, with representatives of medallions owners, and the disabled community.”

Once there’s agreement, red tape kicks in. He says it would have to be approved by both the state Attorney General and a panel called the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

“It’s just not something we can do through a board order all ourselves. We’re going to have to take it to Harrisburg, and show that the fiscal impact (on cab owners) is not so great that it’s an unreasonable regulation to achieve. So, it’s going to take a little bit more time than we originally anticipated.”

Weldon is still hoping to have this done by year’s end.