By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After many delays and false starts, the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s effort to put more wheelchair-accessible taxis on the street is gaining ground.
The Board has approved medallions for more than a dozen new accessible cabs at its monthly meeting Wednesday.
It’s been nearly a year since the Parking Authority first tried to auction off medallions — which are needed to operate cabs in the city — exclusively for wheelchair accessible vehicles (or WAVs).
For months, no one bid. Then in May, with the minimum price drastically slashed, they started to sell but still, no new WAVs have been put into service.
Executive Director Vince Fenerty is getting impatient with cab companies:
“It’s going much slower than we hoped or expected. We are nudging them to what’s within our power.”
A taxi company representative declined comment, but noted that buying and equipping the new cabs takes time and predicts 30 new WAVs will be operating by the time the Pope visits. WAVs will be the only taxis permitted to operate inside the traffic box. Right now, there are eight.
Matthew Clark of Wheelchairs for all Philadelphia says he’s encouraged:
“As lethargic and painful as this kind of is, we’re still going to be leaders in the nation.”