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July 02, 2015

Philadelphia's first wheelchair accessible taxis unveiled

PPA expects to have 150 wheelchair accessible vehicles in Philadelphia by 2021

Transportation Taxis
01302015_taxis_philadelphia_AP.jpg Mark Stehle, File/AP

Taxi drivers in Philadelphia chat while waiting for another fare.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority and advocates for the disabled unveiled on Thursday the first wheelchair accessible taxis in what will eventually become a Philadelphia fleet.

The accommodation is finally arriving after accessibility advocates went to federal court in 2011 to pressure authorities for a WAV requirement, 6 ABC reports.

While 61 WAVs (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) are expected to be on Philadelphia streets by the end of 2016, the PPA expects to have 150 available by 2021. That would represent about 8 percent of taxicabs.

If approved, a rule currently being reviewed would require all 1,600 Philadelphia cabs to eventually become wheelchair accessible. The industry is opposed to such a rule, noting the high cost of WAVs and the possibility that a universal WAV requirement could ruin certain taxi operations, many of which are already under strain from nascent competitors UberX and Lyft.