Simplify Transportation With Demand Response Taxi Cabs

Transportation for people with disabilities can sometimes get complicated. In this three-part series, we have shared some important things to 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. Passengers can use a transit service for a particular date and time through demand-response.

Demand-response is the second largest type of public transportation service in the U.S. It provides most 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, begin in one place, and stop at one destination.

Ride-sharing is a demand-response service that allows passengers to request a ride through a phone call or app. Taxi cabs, which specific companies usually coordinate, are also considered demand-response transportation. Other demand-response transportation options include limousine services, van services, and shuttle bus systems.

Taxi overview

Unlike door-to-door paratransit programs, 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 services are not required to purchase or lease accessible automobiles. However, when a taxi service provider purchases or leases any other vehicle, the vehicle must 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 fleet of accessible vehicles. 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 assist people with disabilities and treat them with respect. The training provided must be appropriate to each employee’s duties.

A dispatcher must know how to use a telecommunication device to interact with a deaf or hard-of-hearing individual. The dispatcher must also 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 its Project Action Consulting Initiative, Easterseals is a leading organization that advocates for transportation rights for people with disabilities. For information on ADA and Accessible Ground Transportation, contact the regional ADA National Network.

Making complaints

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

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 to 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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