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December 13, 2002

London-style cabs get green light

From: CBC Ottawa, Canada - 13 Dec 2002

OTTAWA - The province has relaxed regulations to clear the way for the city of Ottawa to add London-style cabs to its taxi fleet. Previously only minivans were authorized to pick up disabled passengers.

City councillors Diane Deans and Jan Harder have been pressing the province for months to allow the smaller, dome-roofed vehicles.

* FROM SEPT. 20, 2002: Hurdles abound for London-style accessible cabs

Deans says Friday's announcement is a victory, not just for her, but for Ottawa's disabled community.

"It allows choices for our disabled community. But frankly, it's a great choice for the national capital. It's a car that everyone's going to want to ride in – I think it's kind of hip."

Each London cab comes equipped with hearing aid-compatible intercoms and brightly lit handrails for the visually impaired.

They also have extendable wheelchair ramps for passengers such as Kevin Kinsella, who's excited that he can now take his wife out on the spur of the moment and not have to schedule a Para-Transpo van.

The owner of Ottawa's largest taxi company, Blue Line, has ordered a dozen of the $85,000 taxis.

Pending financing and union approval, and the cooperation of federal regulators, London cabs could be on the streets of Ottawa within a few months.

Copyright © 2002 CBC All Rights Reserved.