Vol. 21 No. 2
HAIL TAXI !
Wheelchair accessible taxi cabs have proven their worth in
Boston. These now familiar accommodations first appeared in January of 1993. By
the end of that year there were 40 accessible taxis serving Boston. In June, the
Boston Police Department Hackney Carriage Unit auctioned 28 additional
medallions for accessible cabs. This will bring the number of accessible cabs in
Boston to 78, one of the largest such fleets in the country.
While these cabs have proved popular for travelers with
baggage and groups seeking a little extra room, they exist primarily to serve
people using wheelchairs. Remember, the medallions for accessible cabs are sold
at a significant discount compared to those for the more familiar cabs. This is
to compensate for a few special regulations of which you should be aware.
All Boston taxi companies with 15 or more cabs are required
to have accessible vehicles available for service 24 hours a day.
If an operator is unable to promptly dispatch an accessible
cab when requested by a person in a wheelchair, they must contact other
companies' dispatchers until an available cab is dispatched. It is not
acceptable to make you call the other companies.
If a person using a wheelchair is on the street, that person
may hail any cab and request to have an accessible cab dispatched for them. If
you do not have access to a telephone to request a cab, you may ask a driver to
call his dispatcher for you on his radio. Drivers are sometimes, understandably,
unhappy about this provision and it certainly should not be abused.
As a last resort, if you are having trouble getting an
accessible cab in Boston, you are invited to call the Hackney Carriage Unit of
the Boston Police at (617) 343-4475. They will help locate an accessible cab.
You should also call them with complaints or even words of appreciation.