SFMTA board approves taxi incentives for serving wheelchair users 

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Drivers of wheelchair-accessible taxis have been given added incentives to pick up customers their vehicles are designed to serve.

Under legislation adopted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board Tuesday, ramp-taxi drivers can earn monthly credit at a rate of $10 per wheelchair trip if they provide at least 10 such trips a month. A maximum credit of $4,167 would be allowed per year and can accumulate over time for a maximum credit of $12,500 toward a taxi medallion down payment.

Some cabdrivers in The City have noted that some colleagues have avoided picking up customers with disabilities because it costs them extra time and money.

The credits can only be issued on rides with wheelchair customers holding a paratransit debit card. That does not account for the remaining 20 percent of wheelchair service provided without a paratransit debit card, said Chris Hayashi, deputy director of the transit agency’s Taxis and Accessible Services Division.

“That is going to be a disappointment, that they should also get the credit, which is fair enough, and we’d love to be able to do that, but it’s a problem of proof,” she said.

Another incentive in the works is a pass to the front of the line at San Francisco International Airport for drivers who pick up wheelchair customers from areas outside the downtown core.

Board members also adopted reform to the ramp-taxi medallion system allowing current ramp medallions to stay with the existing company until the vehicle reached the end of its useful life, if the company provided satisfactory wheelchair service.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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