Shepherd Center and Atlanta Checker Cab Announce First-of-its-Kind Accessible Cab in Atlanta
Shepherd Center has partnered with Atlanta Checker Cab to unveil the first-of-its-kind wheelchair accessible cab in the Atlanta metropolitan area, which features the ability to transport multiple wheelchairs and passengers at the same time. Only three cities across the US currently have the vehicle, Atlanta will be the fourth.
Built by VPG Auto as an accessible van from the ground up, the MV-1 is not a converted van or an aftermarket product. It offers passengers in wheelchairs the ability to sit next to the driver, instead of in the back, allows for two wheelchairs at the same time, and can accommodate up to four passengers along with a wheelchair. The MV-1 is ADA compliant and features a large side doorway and deployable ramp that allows the vehicle to pull up right next to a curb, just as a cab would.
The MV-1 hits the Atlanta streets this week. Currently there are three accessible cabs out of the 1,556 cabs in Atlanta, according to data compiled by the Independent Living Council of Georgia. The MV-1 marks the fourth.
Checker Cab Atlanta President Rick Hewatt is proud to provide better options for accessible transportation to Atlanta and its visitors.
“As one of the oldest continuous members of the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association, it is important to Atlanta Checker Cab that we offer the best transportation services and vehicles to all of our customers,” Hewatt said.
Shepherd Center CEO Dr. Gary Ulicny believes this is another step forward not only for people in wheelchairs, but for the entire Atlanta community.
“Everyone wants Atlanta to be a destination city but that's not possible unless all visitors can access flexible transportation,” he said. “The purchase of the MV-1 is a huge step in the right direction. Now we need about 100 more.”
At around $45,000 per vehicle, Hewatt has applied for a federal grant to buy more MV-1 cabs, and hopes to one day have a fleet of at least 10.
Atlanta Checker Cab has long been a proponent of people with disabilities, however, Hewatt became familiar with Shepherd Center ten years ago when his brother-in-law sustained a spinal cord injury and was admitted to Shepherd Center.
To learn more about the MV-1 and see the cab in action, visit ShepherdTV.org.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.