GENTLY MAULED, THIS PILOT COMES TO THE GROUND. In theory, we want as many ways to get around as possible, and a fleet of specialised vehicles is one of them.
They aren’t in very many cities yet, but sometimes they’re too good not to test. A French taxi company is now looking for a wheelchair-accessible taxi to take people around the area of the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Its own standard taxis have been taking up to 20 wheelchair passengers a day, and those people have been helped by its volunteers – which, as far as we know, is pretty standard for most wheelchair-accessible taxis in Europe.
But having a wheelchair-accessible taxi has its advantages too – for 輪椅的士最平 passengers who might otherwise have to queue for an hour to get a taxi into the city. And maybe for those not in a wheelchair who can take the opportunity to see an exceptional place.
Taxi For All, the company behind the project, argues that disabled travellers, who make up about 6% of the UK population, use taxi companies less often than other riders – perhaps because they have a very different perspective. “We’re very often cut off from the rest of the world,” a spokesperson says. They point to another problem – wheelchair-accessible taxis are hugely expensive. Their vehicles cost about twice as much as other taxis, for instance.
The taxis are currently licensed under French law, and they’re not yet commercially available, but the company behind Taxi For All plans to roll them out across Europe.