Controversial New Bill Would Put 15 Wheelchair Accessible Cabs On Philadelphia Streets

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A bill now speeding through the Pennsylvania state legislature would put 15 wheelchair accessible cabs on Philadelphia streets. It would also give the Parking Authority broad new power and an unusual arrangement with the court system.

Both the Greater Philadelphia Taxi Association and disability rights advocates have been lobbying for more accessible cabs but both groups are critical of the bill being championed by the Parking Authority.

Jeff Hornstein of the Taxi Association says the number of taxi’s is woefully low.

“We think that is a pathetic response,” Hornstein says. “15 medallions is not going to create a robust system.”

Tom Earl of Liberty Resources is frustrated.”It’s just totally offensive to the residents of the city with disabilities.”

Some of the skeptics believe the Parking Authority is more interested in other provisions in the bill — provisions that have nothing to do with accessibility.

They would give the Parking Authority power over multi-jurisdiction cabs, currently regulated by the PUC, and they free the PPA from the jurisdiction of Commonwealth Court, even though it’s a state agency.

The bill’s sponsor, Nick Miccarelli, says it’s all part of the package.

“It’s going to insure that taxi cabs are the best they can be in our area.”

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