Demand Response Taxi Cabs

Transportation for people with disabilities can sometimes get complicated. In this three-part series, we have shared some important things that will help you become more comfortable and a transportation pro. Our third post focuses on making the most of demand-response taxi cabs.

What is a Demand-response taxi cab? 

Demand-response transit allows passengers to use a subscription service, make advanced reservations or use real-time scheduling. Small and medium vehicles operate on flexible routes with flexible schedules that depend on passenger requests. Through demand-response, passengers can use a transit service for a particular date and time.

Demand-response is the second largest type of public transportation service in the U.S. It provides most of the public transit in rural areas, accounting for 43 percent of all public transit trips. 

Demand-service is very economical for these areas. Rides are only dispatched when needed and begin in one place and stop at one destination.

As a demand-response, ride sharing allows passengers to request a ride through a phone call or app. Taxi cabs, which are usually coordinated by specific companies, are also considered demand-response transportation. Other demand-response transportation includes limousine services, van services and shuttle bus systems.

Taxi overview

Unlike paratransit programs, which are door to door, most demand-response systems are curb to curb. This is important as it affects how much a driver is required to provide assistance getting to and from the vehicle.

Private entities providing accessible taxi service are not required to purchase or lease accessible automobiles. However, when a provider of a taxi service purchases or leases any other vehicle, the vehicle is required to be accessible unless the provider demonstrates equivalency. 

A provider of accessible taxi service is not required to purchase vehicles other than automobiles to have a number of accessible vehicles in its fleet. However, some taxicab companies do have wheelchair accessible vehicles available.

Are taxi companies required to provide staff training on disabilities?

Under the ADA, taxi company staff must be trained to properly assist people with disabilities and treat them with respect. The training that is provided must be appropriate to the duties of each employee.

A dispatcher must know how to use a telecommunication device to interact with a deaf or hard of hearing individual. The dispatcher also needs to know what vehicle is needed to meet a passenger’s needs. Drivers should know how to use vehicle equipment, including wheelchairs and lifts.

What taxi drivers do not have to do

Drivers are not required to assist you to or from the vehicle location to the door. However, many drivers will provide additional assistance if requested.

Drivers can ask you to exit the vehicle if your service animal is not under control. This behavior includes restlessness, failing to lay down or chewing on parts of the vehicle.

Through their Project Action Consulting Initiative, Easterseals is a leading organization on transportation rights for people with disabilities. You can contact the regional ADA National Network for information on ADA & Accessible Ground Transportation

Making complaints

Here are some typical complaints that a transit agency may receive.

  • Denying service to individuals with a disability who can use the vehicle.

  • Charging a higher rate or fares to passengers with disabilities.

  • Denial of a ride to a customer using a service animal.

  • Refusal to assist with stowing wheelchair, walker or other mobility aids.

Complaint procedure

Complaints must go directly to a transportation agency. First, contact the company’s customer service department to find out how to file a complaint.

Additionally, complaints can be made with the state regarding taxi services. In Nebraska, complaints are made to the Public Services Commission. Call 1.800.526.0017 or email

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