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St. Louis now has taxis for the disabled

9:56 PM, Aug 18, 2011   |    comments
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By Talia Kaplan

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission is adding taxis that are now accessible to the disabled community.

"In my view it pushes St. Louis to another level as a city," said Christopher Worth.

Christopher Worth has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheel chair the majority of his life. He uses Call-A-Ride and public transportation, but, is happy to hear that cabs in St. Louis are now accommodating the disabled.

"Often things like Call-A-Ride are on a schedule. They serve a purpose but, you have to schedule 24 hours in advance it's much more planned out so this allows for more spontaneous accessibility," said Worth.

"This is a great savings compared to what we call non-emergency transportation which is very expensive," said David Newburger, the Commissioner on the Disabled.

Ronald Klein, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, says it was a process that took two years.

"It's part of moving St. Louis forward and recognizing that we have a disabled community that was underserved," said Klein.

There are 11 accessible cabs available right now in the St. Louis area. A Best Taxi has 4 and they got them with federal assistance.

"We have a federal grant but, still we have to pay out of pocket but we charge the disabled the same amount as anyone else," said Eyasu Asfaw the owner of Airport Best Taxi.

Metro West taxi also offers the accessible cabs. They have five of them and paid for all of them out of pocket.

"These taxis cost about four times more than a normal taxi cab and the insurance rates are higher," said Klein.

Because of the cost of the vehicles and getting the funding it was a long process to increase the fleet and the Taxicab Commission is still working on expanding it even more.

"In London, every cab is accessible, one day hopefully all the cabs in St. Louis will be accessible," said Newburger.

"I can't wait to use it and I'll use it on a regular basis," said Worth.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission is calling on the other taxi companies in the area to step up and make themselves available to the disabled community. In the meantime cab companies who do not offer these special taxis will refer them to companies like A Best and Metro West.

You can reach Airport Best at 314 781 1515. You can call Metro West at (636) 272-8294.

KSDK

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