By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority is hoping for state approval of some new rules that would make it more likely that you won’t be climbing into a clunker when you hail a cab in Philadelphia.

The Parking Authority, which oversees taxis and limousines in the city, is asking for state regulatory approval of two rules.  One would require that any vehicle with a new medallion, or one that replaces an existing taxi, have less than 500 miles on it when first placed into service.  Currently, a taxi can be brought into service with up to 135,000 miles on it.

“That vehicle would have to be within two model years of the date the manufacturer produced it, and have less than five hundred miles on the odometer,” explains Dennis Weldon, the Parking Authority’s general counsel.

The second proposed rule is that any vehicle newly entering the Philadelphia taxi fleet must be wheelchair accessible.

Weldon admits that taxi operators are likely to resist these changes, and will make their displeasure known as the proposals are opened to public comment.  But, he says, the Parking Authority believes the time has come to modernize the fleet of about 1,600 medallion taxis.

“Cab service just has to get better,” says Weldon.  “The taxicab industry just has to improve itself.  Or the Parking Authority, as a regulator, knowing that cab service is very important in the city, we have to cause that change to occur.  And that’s what we’re trying to do here.”

The public has thirty days to send comment on the proposals, and then the matter goes to the state Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

Weldon hopes for approval by fall, though the changes may take some time to be noticed by riders.

“They’re going to start to see these changes by the fall, and really hope to see some significant numbers of these better vehicles in place by the time the Democratic National Convention comes to Philadelphia,” Weldon tells KYW Newsradio.

You can find the proposed rules at philapark.org.