When you have a physical disability that prevents you from driving, you can feel isolated from the rest of the world. When you can’t drive, it’s difficult to go where you want, when you want.
Oftentimes, you rely on others for your transportation needs, and in some cases, you may have to turn down an opportunity simply because you have no means of transportation.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be confined to your home. People who have vision impairments or physical limitations as well as the elderly can all take transportation into their own hands with mobility taxicabs.
What Are Mobility Taxicabs?
Mobility taxicabs, also known as accessible taxicabs, are wheelchair-accessible taxis. These cabs provide safe, reliable transportation to the elderly and people with many kinds of disabilities.
Many companies provide mobility taxicab services, and most of their vehicles will be vans with lifts. However, you may also be able to find standard taxicabs that can cater to your needs.
Although, they may not be wheelchair accessible.
It is important to remember that mobility taxicabs are not emergency vehicles. You will still need to call 911 for emergency situations.
Why Can’t Friends and Family Handle Transportation?
Caregivers, including family and friends, are essential to their loved ones’ health and happiness. But, when your friends and family are in charge of transportation, you might feel restricted in what you can do. Caregivers may also feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Physical limitations can make people feel repressed. When you can’t go somewhere on your own, this feeling can be even worse. Mobility taxicabs provide autonomy and a respite for caregivers and people with disabilities.
Are There Mobility Taxicabs in My Area?
Some people are concerned about mobility taxicabs’ accessibility. If you live in a rural area, you might not know if there are mobility cabs available to you. Even in urban settings, these cabs can be difficult to find.
Many cities are enacting ordinances to counter this problem. Some cities, such as Chicago, require a certain number of accessible taxis per a certain number of standard vehicles. Other cities, such as Los Angeles, require that a certain percentage of a taxi fleet be accessible vehicles.
Another way cities are encouraging mobility taxicabs is through medallions. Medallions are metallic symbols attached to the hoods of taxicabs. They are issued by the city. The medallion shows that a cab is authorized to operate.
Cities like San Francisco have increased the number of medallions available. They have also set aside a certain number for accessible cabs only. Some cities, such as Boston, go so far as to charge companies less for medallions if they are for mobility taxicabs.
As mobility taxicabs are supported and encouraged, they will become available in more and more places. The easiest way to find one is to locate a company in your area that provides mobility taxicabs and book one in advance.
Can the Drivers of the Mobility Taxicab Help Me?
Some companies who supply mobility taxicabs offer drivers with special training in things like CPR. These drivers will also be able to assist you in and out of the cab.
For regular cabs, the Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association established standards for taxicab drivers in 2006. These include driver training and information about government rules and regulations. Training also includes defensive driving, and customer service and relation skills.
Other resources are available for cab drivers, such as the Toolkit for Taxi Operators. This kit’s guide gives tips for how to best serve people with disabilities. The kit also includes quizzes and training materials for further information.
When you book a taxi in advance, you can check with the dispatcher to make sure the driver will be able to meet your needs.
Can I Afford a Mobility Taxicab?
Accessible taxi drivers are required by law not to charge more for serving a person with a disability than for an able-bodied person. They are also not allowed to charge extra for time they spend helping a person with a disability store their equipment or get in and out of the cab.
Still, cab rides can be expensive. Many people think of taking a taxi as a luxury, not an everyday event. Depending on your transportation needs, taking a cab when necessary might be cheaper than owning, maintaining, and parking a car.
Additional options make mobility taxicabs more affordable, such as sponsorship and voucher programs. The elderly may find sponsorship or subsidy programs at local chapters of Medicaid or the Area Agency on Aging.
Voucher systems are commonly a partnership between a private taxi company and the local government. Funds for vouchers come from local and federal sources.
A physical disability doesn’t have to disable your outings. Mobility taxicabs can make it possible for you to get out and about in your community.