- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - A nonprofit that provides services for people with disabilities has yet to find a taxi company in Ketchikan that will operate a vehicle that is accessible to disabled riders.

Keith Smith, the director of Southeast Alaska Independent Living’s Ketchikan program, said the group issued a request for proposals earlier this month, but has not yet received any interest from taxi companies, The Ketchikan Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1THJtdf).

Smith said the organization and grants from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities would fund the $58,000 disabled-accessible vehicle, which would be leased to a Ketchikan operator. The company could also qualify for federal tax credits and apply for a permit to operate the vehicle in addition to its regular fleet of taxis.

Ketchikan Yellow Taxi Inc., also known as Yellow Cab, operated one of the vehicles for SAIL several years ago, but stopped using it after experiencing several issues with the car. When SAIL received grant funding for a new vehicle equipped with a ramp for wheelchair access, Yellow Cab agreed to operate the taxi. In February 2015, it applied for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to operate the disabled-accessible vehicle along with its other vehicles.

However, a motion to hold a public hearing was not supported by the City Council and it was not taken up again, according to a March 29 letter from Ketchikan Police Chief Alan Bengaard.

While Southeast Alaska Independent Living’s Ketchikan program waits to hear back from taxi companies interested in the proposal, Smith said the group will continue its efforts to bring the taxi service to the community.

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Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, https://www.ketchikandailynews.com


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