Wheelchair Users Take Taxi Fight to Federal Court
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Wheelchair users are taking their fight with taxi companies to a federal appeals court.Thanks to Paul Secunda for the tip.
Cab drivers in Salt Lake City often refuse to pick up people in wheelchairs, who get referred by dispatchers to a private ambulance company, which has agreed to provide the service for no more than regular cab fare.
But advocates for the disabled want to force taxi companies to outfit vans that usually are part of their fleets with lifts or ramps and provide their own service. They say the Americans with Disabilities Act requires it.
It's one of the hearings the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold when it travels to Salt Lake City and Provo for four days this week to hear arguments in 72 criminal and civil cases.
Since the filing of the taxi case, Salt Lake City enacted an ordinance requiring taxis to accommodate people in wheelchairs. That's when the three licensed cab companies arranged for the service to be provided by Gold Cross Services Inc., which takes calls for three specially equipped vans.
``We each donated a meter,'' said Bruce Jackson, an owner with his brother of City Cab Co. and a defendant in the suit brought by Utah disability activist Barbara Toomer.
``I think that's all been settled,'' Jackson said of the lawsuit. When informed of a Wednesday hearing at the University of Utah law school for the appeal, he gave Toomer's group, the Disabled Rights Action Committee, credit for perseverance. But he added, ``I don't know what their point is now, anyway.''
The point is that the Americans with Disabilities Act required cab companies to provide lift or ramp devices with every new van they acquire for their fleet, said Rick Armknecht, an attorney for the Disabled Rights Action Committee.