Updated, 12-13-2014, 3:30pm: Corrected the total number of accessible cabs and total number of taxis overall.
- Adds only wheelchair-accessible vehicles
- Allows new company to operate providing more consumer options
- Grants 10 certificates to Blue Top Cab; 50 certificates to All Access Taxi
- Addresses growing demand for accessible, reliable taxi service
The Arlington County Board today awarded 60 new taxicab certificates in an effort to meet the growing demand for wheelchair-accessible taxicab service.
The Board voted 5-0 to award 10 wheelchair-accessible vehicles to Blue Top Cab to support their existing and new contracts and the other 50 certificates to a proposed new company, All Access Taxi, for wheelchair-accessible taxicabs.
“Our taxi companies, members of the disability community and riders are telling us there is a growing demand for accessible taxi service in Arlington,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “We strive to be a fully welcoming community, and these additional cabs will provide more options and convenience to many people with a disability.”
All Access Taxi will offer a wheelchair-accessible-only fleet to improve mobility for people with disabilities and seniors. The award more than doubles the number of accessible cabs in the County, to 97 out of a total of 847 taxis. Until now only two companies, Red Top and Blue Top, offered wheelchair-accessible taxis in the County.
Growing demand for wheelchair-accessible taxi service
In October of this year, County Manager Barbara Donnellan recommended adding wheelchair-accessible taxis based on additional data and input from the community, including Arlington's Transit Advisory Committee, its Accessibility Subcommittee, and the Disability and Transportation Commissions, and contacts with different social service agencies. The County also took into account an increase of more than 25 percent in registrations over a two-year period for Arlington's STAR program and the regional MetroAccess paratransit service. Reported excessive wait times and documented late pick-ups for riders also informed the decision.
Organizations such as ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, the American Association of People With Disabilities, the United Spinal Association and others support the increase in the number of certificates. The decision amended the 2014 Certificate Determination Report issued in July that originally called for no new taxi certificates to be authorized.
To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #31 on the December 13, 2014 Regular County Board Meeting Agenda.
About Arlington's Taxi Ordinance and Review
Every other year, the Arlington County Taxicab Ordinance requires that the County Board review the number of taxicab certificates. During this process, new entities or existing taxicab companies may apply and request authority to operate additional standard or wheelchair-accessible taxicabs. This year three applications were received, requesting authority to add a total of 115 taxicabs to Arlington's fleet. Of these, 40 were awarded for wheelchair-accessible taxicabs only. The recommendation is made with the primary objective of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the travelling public. The next review will be in 2016.