Wheelchair-Accessible Cabs to be Deployed, but Advocates Still Fighting

November 30, 2011 Media

November 30, 2011
by Arielle Levin Becker, The Connecticut Mirror

They’re big (5,200 pounds), bright (yellow or orange-striped) and, in the coming weeks, will be navigating the streets of Connecticut. The new wheelchair-accessible cabs that are expected to soon be on the roads in the Hartford and New Haven areas will dramatically increase the on-demand transportation options for people who use wheelchairs.

Besides a handful of wheelchair-accessible taxis that operate in some parts of the state, people in wheelchairs who don’t have their own vehicles have few flexible public transportation options. Paratransit services provide rides to people with disabilities, but typically only go within ¾ of a mile of a bus route. Dial-a-ride services can take people to more locations, but usually only if they’re booked at least a day in advance, and they often only travel within a town or region.

The cab companies, Metro Taxi of West Haven and Bloomfield’s Yellow Cab, don’t need special permits to operate wheelchair-accessible cabs, known as MV-1s. But, arguing that they were already operating at capacity, the companies applied for 70 additional permits each so the new vehicles could expand their fleets.

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