Thursday August 3, 2006
Accessibility Loan Available to Small Businesses
Mayor Jerry Abramson today said that individuals with physical disabilities will have expanded transportation options, due to a city policy requiring taxicab companies to make a percentage of their fleet wheelchair accessible. He also outlined a revolving loan fund that is available to help small businesses address accessibility issues.
“We are increasing mobility options for everyone in our community,” Abramson said. “It’s important that Louisville is accessible and inclusive to all.”
Abramson proclaimed today Disability Day to recognize and raise awareness of people with disabilities and the challenges they face in everyday life.
Louisville is one of only a handful of cities that require taxicab companies to convert some of its fleet to wheelchair accessible vehicles. The ordinance requires companies with more than 25 service vehicles to have at least 2 percent of their fleet wheelchair accessible.
Two local companies that meet the new law’s threshold together have six accessible vehicles now on Louisville streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The vehicles owned by Ready Cab and Yellow Cab are specially-designed with a lift or ramp, and will accommodate one patron in a wheelchair, as well as seating for two additional people.
Transit Authority of River City Executive Director J. Barry Barker said there is a need for more accessible transportation options. “It is a vital service to the disabled community, and the addition of more wheel-chair accessible vehicles will improve the quality of life for a lot of citizens,” Barker said.
TARC currently operates 75 accessible vehicles under the TARC 3 Paratransit service, and 280 accessible buses in fixed-route service.
The accessible vehicles will assist citizens with physical disabilities who want wheelchair-accessible service outside of TARC 3 hours or its service area.
Chuck Rogers, past president of the Metro Disability Coalition, said that “having accessible taxis will provide disabled citizens with a greatly needed additional option of transportation when they cannot obtain transportation through other means.”
City infrastructure projects, businesses support enhanced accessibility
In the past year, Louisville’s Office for Aging and Disabled Citizens has coordinated 600 new wheelchair accessible curb-cuts to allow wheelchair users to cross sidewalk intersections, and the installation of 34 voice-enhanced pedestrian crossing signals, giving blind individuals the technology to hear voice commands at intersection crossings.
In addition, the Metro Development Authority and the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation make loans to small businesses that need to make their space more accessible to people with physical disabilities. Loans up to $5,000 are provided from a revolving loan fund, and in the past year, 17 local small businesses benefited from this loan.
For more information on the Accessibility Loan, call MetroCall 311 or visit the Metro Development Authority page at LouisvilleKy.gov.
Citizens with disabilities who need taxi service can call:
- Yellow Cab, 636-5511
- Ready Cab, 657-0360