Wheelchair-accessible taxis have been available for some time in New York City, but they have never been so quickly or easily summoned. If you have a smart phone, you can now download the Accessible Dispatch WOW Taxi app, summon a wheelchair-accessible taxi to any location in Manhattan, and be transported.
The Accessible Dispatch mobile app and cab service are the products of Metro Taxi, a Connecticut-based company. In terms of business, their venture is a smart one: The demand for wheelchair-accessible taxis is high, and the occasionally long wait times for these taxis is something Metro Taxi can compete against. With GPS devices in all of their wheelchair-accessible vehicles, Metro taxi is able to dispatch the nearest available driver to a customer, rather than the first available driver. Additionally, the “e-hailing” option from the WOW Taxi mobile app offers a convenient service to people who would otherwise have difficulty hailing the exact type of cab they need from any given sidewalk in Manhattan.
With this development, New York City taxis are coming a bit closer to the standards set by taxis in London, where every taxi is wheelchair-accessible and offers a host of accessibility aids. Here at Equal Entry, we’re excited to see companies like Metro Taxi raise the standards and succeed at business. According the The New York Times, the first three months of Metro Taxi’s venture have gone very well: they averaged 35 calls each day, with typical response time of 20 minutes. Perhaps their success will encourage other American entrepreneurs to see assistive technology as both appreciated and profitable. If smart phone-driven transportation companies like Uber and Lyft don’t already allow customers to hail accessible rides with relative ease, they should.