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Cabbies serving disabled community can vie for medallion

Updated: September 22, 2012 2:36PM

In an effort to encourage more accessible taxicabs in Chicago, the city is offering a pretty valuable incentive to drivers who serve the disabled community: a Chicago taxi medallion.

The nomination period for the 2012 Taxicab Driver Excellence Award -- whose winner will receive the medallion, was launched Friday, according to the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The average market price of a medallion is $320,000.

Eligible drivers must:

• Be in compliance with all city laws,

• Have been driving a Chicago-licensed taxicab for at least three consecutive years prior to nomination, and

• Can verify that they have been driving a Chicago-licensed wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) taxicab for at least 250 days within the last 12 months servicing passengers using wheelchairs at least two times for every 12-hour shift worked.

The Driver Excellence Award will focus on drivers who serve the disabled community, drive WAVs and provide exemplary customer service to their passengers, a release from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said.

The city’s new taxi ordinance, which took effect on July 1, re-established the award and is part of the city’s initiatives to promote and incentivize the growth of wheelchair accessible vehicles in Chicago’s taxi fleet.

The number of WAVs in Chicago has nearly doubled since passage of the new taxi ordinance, the release said.

“We want to see the number of WAVs continue to grow,” BACP Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel said. “Drivers that serve the disabled community are dedicated small businesses that deserve recognition and this award is one way for us to commend these model drivers.”

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