By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Members of Philadelphia’s disabled community turned out in City Council this past week in hopes of prodding state lawmakers to put more handicapped accessible taxis on city streets.READ MORE: Abortion Rights Advocates Gather For Bans Off Our Bodies Protest In Philadelphia After SCOTUS Overturned Roe v. Wade
“With the growing number of disabled citizens in Philadelphia, the need is there for accessible taxis,” said Clinton Cri Hendon, one of several disabled residents who spoke before the vote by City Council.
The lawmakers approved a resolution from Councilman David Oh, calling on the state legislature to release 300 more tax medallions for the city — earmarked for handicapped accessible vehicles. Also speaking was Shawn Tucker, who gave a real world example of living in a city with so few accessible taxis.
“If I was going out to lunch with a couple of you, four or five of you could get into one taxi,” Tucker said. “I would have to wait. You’d all go along and probably have drinks and hors d’oeuvres. But I would have to wait until an accessible taxi comes along. There’s not many, and most of them hang out at the airport.”
This was a non-binding resolution — City Council can’t tell Harrisburg what to do — but Cri Hendon was thrilled nonetheless.READ MORE: Brandywine Valley SPCA, Other Shelters Holding Mega Adoption Event This Weekend
“We’ve been fighting for more accessible taxis for the past ten years,” he said. “And it is a relief to know that we’re being taken seriously about this.”
The state legislature in 2012 did authorize 150 new medallions to be dispersed in Philadelphia over ten years. The Parking Authority board, which oversees taxis and limos in the city, says all 150 will be for accessible taxis. The first 45 of those medallions are to be auctioned off later this month.
Currently, there are just six handicapped accessible cabs out of the total 1,600 licensed taxis in the city.
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