By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority, a state-run agency that also regulates taxicab operations in the city of Philadelphia, today approved new rules that would provide medallions for wheelchair-accessible taxis, and rules for cab security cameras.
Various other state agencies will now give the new regulations a once-over, to make sure all of the guidelines are in place.
The authority is now on a path to hold auctions, beginning in November, for 45 wheelchair-accessible taxicab medallions. Officials there expect robust interest for the medallions, which could fetch more than $500,000 apiece.
PPA lawyer Dennis Weldon says the auctions be conducted with sealed bids, “‘and we should be then able to sell these medallions and get them on the street.”
Disability activist German Parodi (far left in photo, back to camera) can’t wait for that moment.
“I can wave my arm at a taxi and actually get one!” he envisioned.
Of the 1,600 cabs in Philadelphia, only eight are currently wheelchair-accessible.
Jim Ney, the director of the Parking Authority’s taxicab and limousine division, says they have also submitted regulations, which now go for state review, to install security cameras in every taxicab in the city.
“It’s been universally accepted and praised by both the drivers and the owners,” Ney says of the plan.
Officials say that having two cameras in each cab — one in front and one in back — would provide more safety than just the plexiglass shields.
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