Chicago pushing taxi industry for wheelchair accessibility

(Ray Tsang/Flickr)

The city of Chicago is offering financial incentives to encourage the taxi and ride-hailing industries to add more wheelchair-accessible vehicles to their fleets.

There are 170 wheelchair-accessible cabs operating in Chicago. Another 200 will be added by 2018 under requirements being phased in for companies that own taxi medallions.

The city is hoping its incentives will speed that up and put another 100 accessible vehicles on the road by the end of this year.

The incentives announced Friday include doing away with a dispatch fee for wheelchair-accessible taxis. Among other incentives, the city is offering medallion owners a $20,000 subsidy toward the purchase of factory-built accessible vehicles.

Money for the incentives comes from a fund the industry pays into with fees for all trips taken by non-wheelchair-accessible vehicles.