DC taxis to be used for paratransit service: why has it taken so long?
In the DC metropolitan area, paratransit services are a rising cost that is one of the influences on rising transit fares (for subway and bus).
-- Review of MetroAccess Ridership, Cost, and Policy and Extension of Contracting Authority, WMATA
DC just announced an agreement to utilize existing taxis to provide paratransit services. See "Bringing more wheelchair-accessible cabs to D.C. streets—and saving the city millions" from the Post.
I don't understand why the Taxi Commission is patting itself on the back about this, why a special agreement was necessary, and why it took so long.
It's obvious that using already existing taxis for this purpose would save money over the present system of funding a dedicated service, and if the taxis were allowed to carry unrelated passengers on the same run (like in the days before the current meter system), probably this would enable greater taxi access and service outside of the core of the city, where taxi service tends to "congeal."
Plus it would provide more income to taxi drivers, which helps to support the industry and the provision of quality cars.
Generally speaking, private taxis used for paratransit service is a best practice--for single trips that aren't easily grouped with others--that has been clear for many years, if not decades.
-- Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 31: Paratransit Contracting and Service Delivery Methods