For much of his life, Bruce McElrath only had two ways to get around Philadelphia, SEPTA or his wheelchair. For McElrath and other disabled Philadelphians in wheelchairs, taxis aren’t much of an option.
“You can flag all day,” McElrath said. “What can they do? They can’t fit a motorized chair in their cab. There’s no option.”
Out of the 1600 taxis in Philadelphia, only seven of those are wheelchair-equipped. The Philadelphia Parking Authority is taking the steps to change that however. On Tuesday its board approved a new set of rules governing 150 new wheelchair-accessible taxi medallions.
The parking authority’s new rules still have to be approved by Harrisburg and reviewed by the public. The authority hopes the first 45 wheelchair-accessible cabs will be auctioned off for immediate use by next summer. For McElrath and other advocates for the rights of the disabled, it’s much-needed progress.
“This is the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection,” MCElrath said. “So we should be beyond that. Everyone should have an equal opportunity.”