CONNECTICUT GETS FIRST WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE TAXICAB: METRO TAXI’S “METROACCESS” OFFERS NEW FREEDOM FOR PEOPLE WHO USE WHEELCHAIRS FOR MOBILITY
(10/14/2009) (NEW HAVEN) – Today, The City of New Haven’s Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities along with Metro Taxi, the state’s largest, full-service taxi company, jointly launched Connecticut’s first wheelchair-accessible cab, “ .” The state’s first ADA-compliant taxicab is owned and operated by Metro Taxi in West Haven. Supported by a recently-passed state regulation permitting this type of wheelchair-accessible taxicab, is ready to begin around-the-clock service to customers who use wheelchairs and scooters within Greater New Haven.
“We’re very excited for New Haven to be the first city in the state to have MetroAccess service available to residents with mobility disabilities; said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “We congratulate Metro Taxi for taking leadership in this area. It’s important that we work together to ensure that all residents have access to quality transportation services and not allow disabilities to become barriers.”
An inaugural demonstration of was held this morning at Metro Taxi’s headquarters. The cab will transport its first customer, Michelle M. Duprey, Esq., director of The City of New Haven’s Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities, to New Haven’s Union Station on her way to Washington, D.C.
Opening Doors to Employment and Community Events for the Mobility Disabled:
“Here in New Haven we knew there was a large gap in the mass transportation available to individuals with mobility disabilities,” said Duprey. “If you needed a ride on short notice, there were no options available to you. In a local study we did, transportation was cited by almost a two-to-one margin as an area that needed improvement and 31 percent of individuals with disabilities said they were not working because of the lack of affordable, convenient and accessible transportation, Duprey explained. “That’s why I believe Metro Taxi’s new, wheelchair-accessible taxi will open doors for many members of the community to both employment and community activities, which is very exciting.”
New Connecticut Department of Transportation Legislation:
Prior to newly-passed (Oct. 1, 2009) Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) legislation, minivan wheelchair-accessible taxicabs were prohibited in the state, restricting transportation options for Connecticut’s residents and visitors with mobility disabilities.
“Bill Scalzi, president of Metro Taxi, deserves a gold star for getting the DOT legislation revised to allow for wheelchair-accessible cabs and for having the vision and leadership to launch MetroAccess,” said Kris Barber, assistant coordinator for The City of New Haven’s Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities. “Wheelchair-accessible taxis fill the gap in the public and paratransit transportation system for people who use wheelchairs or scooters for mobility,” Barber added.
Future Transportation Services for Those with Mobility Disabilities:
“The challenge to get wheelchair-accessible taxicabs in the state has been a long-time campaign of mine given the value, freedom and equality they will bring to the disability community,” said William Scalzi, president and founder of Metro Taxi. ““We’re very pleased to begin offering this service and plan on adding additional wheelchair-accessible vehicles as the public demand increases, utilizing grants such as the “New Freedom Initiative” and other federal funding sources,” Scalzi said.
Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities:
This department promotes the coordination of resources for persons with disabilities, responds to the needs of persons with disabilities and monitors and takes appropriate actions to ensure compliance with relevant federal, state and local regulations. http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/DisabilityServices/index.asp
, owned and operated by Metro Taxi, is Connecticut’s first wheelchair-accessible taxicab. It complies with The Americans with Disabilities Act and is a rear-entry ramped vehicle that includes tie-downs to secure the passenger and his/her wheelchair or scooter. has a lower floor than standard vans to help ensure that customers can enter the vehicle with sufficient headroom easily and comfortably. As of today, will service 13 towns and cities in Greater New Haven, 24 hours a day; seven days a week. MetroTaxiCT.com/MetroAccess.
Founded in 1987, Metro Taxi has been lauded for its state-of-the-art use of technology by the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, recognized for exceptional service by the Governor and the Connecticut General Assembly, named a Business New Haven Rising Star and was voted “Best in New Haven” every year that New Haven Advocate readers have been polled. Recently, the American Red Cross acknowledged Metro Taxi with the Pearce Award. Named after business and community leader Herbert H. Pearce, H. Pearce Real Estate Co., the award recognizes Metro Taxi’s volunteerism and in-kind contributions, which aid the American Red Cross’ year-long humanitarian relief efforts. Metro Taxi is also a community partner with The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, a not-for-profit organization co-chaired by Governor M. Jodi Rell that works to keep the state’s youth safe, successful and drug-free.