Hundreds protest for wheelchair-accessible taxis

Posted: July 27, 2011

Eileen Sabel's protest signs could be seen from all angles. She had a flier taped in front on her lap and three big signs fastened on the other sides of her wheelchair.

Sabel, known as "Spitfire," wants wheelchair-accessible taxicabs. Monday night, when a bus she was riding broke down, she had to steer her powered wheelchair home in the rain.

"I'm not a villain," said Sabel, 61, who lives in Germantown. "It's not fair. The word is dignity."

About 200 protesters from three groups gathered Tuesday morning outside the Convention Center to demand accessible taxicabs. The rally was held on the 21st anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Of the top 10 largest cities in the country, Philadelphia is the only one that does not have any accessible cabs, said Nancy Salandra, board president of Disabled in Action, a national advocacy group.

At the rally, Disabled in Action announced it had filed suit earlier in the day against the Philadelphia Parking Authority, saying that failure to provide accessible taxis violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.

German Parodi, one of the six plaintiffs, said he had been fighting for wheelchair taxicabs since he moved to Philadelphia eight years ago.

"It is our right, and we need the taxis today," said Parodi, 27.


To see a video of the rally, go to www.philly.com/accessible


Contact staff writer Alia Conley at 215-854-2917 or aconley@philly.com.

 

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