If you or a family member use a wheelchair for accessibility, you might be concerned about using a taxi service if you are flying to new city or even a new country. However, booking and using a taxi service with accommodations for wheelchairs can be easy if you know what to expect. Here are some things you should know about using a taxi service when you have a wheelchair.
1. You won't have to pay more.
Even though wheelchair-accessible vans are more expensive to purchase and outfit, you should not be charged a higher fee for the taxi service than regular shuttle fares consistent with what the driver/company charges a customer without a disability. If you are charged any type of convenience fee that is in any way connected to the extra work/time it takes to load and unload a wheelchair and assist you, you are well within your rights to refuse payment or to report the driver to the parent company. If someone, like a medical aide, must travel with you for mobility purposes or if you travel with an assistance animal, you also cannot be charged extra taxi fares for them.
2. You will need to prepare in advance.
Not every car or taxi van is outfitted to accommodate a wheelchair. While most people can simply grab a cab at the airport or on the sidewalk, you will need to call a cab company and request a wheelchair accessible vehicle. If you have an aide or service animal, let the company know ahead of time to make sure there is room enough for all the passengers in the vehicle they send.
3. A driver cannot discriminate against you because you have a wheelchair.
Accessibility vehicles can also take regular passengers. Regular passengers are quicker and easier to load and unload, so they are more lucrative for drivers. However, you cannot be denied a spot in a taxi because you have a wheelchair with you. If your wheelchair is able to be folded and loaded in the trunk, a regular car should always be able to take you wherever you need to go, even if it takes a little bit longer.
Drivers also cannot refuse to help load or unload wheelchairs and luggage for passengers who are unable to do so. If the taxi has luggage restrictions, these restriction do not apply to wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, or other necessary paraphernalia for your handicap.
4. Drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles should have a basic working knowledge of your needs.
The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) requires that taxi services for impaired individuals be equal to the services given to those who have no disabilities. This means that if a taxi company sends a van to collect you, the driver and the taxi company should have a basic knowledge of what people in wheelchairs are able to do, how to handle your chair, and how to assist you to make sure you are safe and comfortable.
5. You should be able to get a taxi during the regular operating hours of a taxi company.
You don't need to be curbed by fears that you will need to plan your travel needs around "convenience" hours. Taxi companies who abide by the ADA guidelines provide handicap accessible service for all of the hours that they offer standard taxi service. So, if the company you plan to book with offers a 24-7 taxi service, you can feel confident your needs will be met. If you are met with resistance about the time or nature of your arrival, you can look for another company or report the one you were booking with for the violation.
To contact or hire a taxi service, visit websites like http://www.yellowcabaz.com.