The city of Chicago will add approximately 50 MV-1 wheelchair-accessible taxis to its fleet over the next several weeks to boost public transportation options for the more than 600,000 Chicago-area residents with disabilities.
Mobility Ventures LLC, designer and manufacturer of MV-1, the only purpose-built, wheelchair-accessible vehicle and city officials announced the fleet expansion yesterday.
The agreement increases the total number of MV-1s in Chicago taxi fleets to more than 100, helping to fulfill a pledge by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities to double the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis in the city by the end of 2018.
"Adding MV-1 taxis to the Chicago fleet will improve the quality of life for many people with disabilities," said Pat Kemp, executive vice president, Mobility Ventures. "Convenient, affordable, safe and reliable transportation is a critical need for more than half a million people with disabilities living in the Chicago area."
To meet the city's goal, taxi licensees in Chicago who own at least 10 medallions will be required to devote 10 percent of their fleet to wheelchair-accessible vehicles by 2018. Previously, taxi licensees with 20 medallions needed 5 percent of their fleet to be wheelchair-accessible.
The MV-1 is the ideal vehicle for taxi licensees who serve wheelchair users because vehicle features such as spaciousness and ramp length were influenced by wheelchair users. Chicago taxi operators with MV-1s already in service agree. According to Demetrios Manolitsis, owner of Ionian Taxi Service, "We chose the MV1 for our fleet for multiple reasons. The first and most important is that it is factory built, not retrofitted. And the wheelchair ramp comes with two options: automatic or manual. But my favorite thing about the vehicle is the ability to sit multiple passengers comfortably with a lot of luggage. The driver prefers the MV1 because of its durability and flexibility."
Mobility Ventures LLC is an industry innovator in purpose-built paratransit vehicles for public and private transportation providing design, engineering, marketing, sales, and customer service support. Mobility Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of AM General LLC. To learn more about Mobility Ventures, please visit www.mv-1.us