Update on wheelchair-accessible taxis


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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday the City Council voted to approve an amendment I introduced to reduce the requirements for wheelchair-accessible taxi license holders. It’s designed to create a fairer, more level playing field to ensure this vital service continues to operate.

Wheelchair-accessible taxis provide a valuable service for disabled persons, who have fewer transportation options than most people.

Wheelchair-accessible taxi license holders are required to meet higher driver-safety requirements than regular taxis, and also have a greater financial burden. Their vehicles are significantly more expensive, as they require retrofitting to include a wheelchair ramp. In addition, a condition of the license is that they must take calls for people in wheelchairs countyside. So a driver in Downtown Seattle may need to take a call from someone in Woodinville or Bellevue.

Because of these factors, I believe the number of years they must drive the vehicle before being able to rent it, or sell the license, should be shorter than the 5-year period required for regular taxis. I proposed reducing it to a 3-year period.

Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the amendment in the Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations Committee. The legislation will be voted on by the Full Council, likely on March 10.

You can view my comments here.

In August, 2013 I sponsored legislation that also address fairness issues for wheelchair-accessible taxi drivers.

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