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Equalize treatment of public accommodation transportation providers and private transportation providers by excluding vehicles serving 16 or, fewer passengers from the full accesstbility requirements applicable to pubiic accommodations and
private transportation providers.
Clarify the definition and application of the term, "equiva
lent levels of service" by
a. Penitting private sector operators to purchase
new, non-accessible, non-automobile vehicles if
they provide equivalent levels of service by
b. Clarifying that unusual instances of disparate
service to disabled persons will not, in therri
selves, support a finding that an operator nas
discriminated against disabled persons; and
their responsibilities by contracting with other
Clarify the application of the employment nondiscrimi-
5. Clarify that responsibility for satisfying the Act rests
with the public authority or public accommodation when services are provided by a private operator under contract to a public authority or public accommodation.
Limit the scope of the "undue financial burden" exception
to the requirement that public sector transportation
ITA believes that these improvements will benefit both individuals with
disabilities and the public transportation industry alike, and stands ready to
work with the Committee and its staff to this end.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce two members of the International Taxicab Association who are here to tell you firsthand how they meet the needs of their passengers with disabilities and how they see this bill impacting their private, for-hire, demand-responsive companies.
On my right is Mr. Rudolph H. Bruhns. He is the Executive Vice President and
General Manager of Yellow Cab Service Corporation, which owns four taxicab
companies, one of which is Yellow Cab of Houston. Yellow Cab of Houston is
the third largest taxicab company in North America, operating 1,205 demandresponsive vehicles. They have recently begun to convert their fleet from
four-door sedans to minivans. The company also operates 10 wheelchair
ible vans to meet the transportation needs of its passengers who use wheel
On my left is Mr. Robert M. Werth. He is president of Diamond Transportation,
Inc., which operates 11 wheelchair-accessible vans, five non-wheelchair-accessible vans and one wheelchair-accessible school bus. Mr. Werth's company is affiliated with both the Yellow Cab and Diamond Cab Companies in Alexandria,
Virginia. Yellow Cab operates 166 taxicabs and Diamond operates 132 taxicabs. Mr. Werth is very committed to providing high quality, fully accessible public transportation service directly to the general public and through contracts
with public agencies and private companies.
Following Mr. Bruhns' and Mr. Werth's brief statements, we would be happy to
answer any questions the members of the Committee might have.
Thank you for the opportunity to address this important bill, and we hope that
you will call on us for assistance.
TESTIMONY OF MR. RUDOLPH H. BRUHNS
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I first want
to thank you for the opportunity to testify here this morning. As Mr. LaGasse has said, my name is Rudolph H. Bruhns, and I am the Executive Vice President of Yellow Cab Service Corporation,
in Houston, Texas.
Like the International Taxicab Association, Yellow Cab Service
Corporation supports this legislation. We firmly believe that .disabled Americans must have the same opportunities for employment and transportation that are available to all other Americans. At the same time, we are very concerned that this leçislation not impose unnecessary costs on private providers of cransportation for disabled persons that will raise the price of transportation for all, including the disabled.
I am here for one purpose, and one piirpose only:
this committee to ensure that the definition of an automobile, for purposes of this act, includes standard vans and minivans which are now being introduced into taxicab service across the
The companies owned by Yellow Cab Service Corpora
tion provide a good example of this trend.
Yellow Cab Service Corporation is a holding company that
operates taxicab companies in Houston and Austin, Texas; Colorado
Springs, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. The largest of these companies, Houston Yellow Cab, transports nearly 6 million passengers a year, including dispatch trips, airport trips, and passengers picked up on the street. Included in this number ase over 100,000 trips made by elderly and handicapped passengers subsidized by the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. Over 14,000 of those subsidized trips were wheelchair trips, some of which were transported in one of ten wheelchair accessible minivans operated by Houston Yellow Cab. The remainder of the wheelchair trips were transported in regular sedan taxicabs.
For many years, Houston Yellow Cab has used full-size, sedans manufactured by the Chrysler Corporation, the Plymouth Gran Fury model. In November, 1988, Chrysler Corporation built the last Gran Fury. After investigating the remaining two full-size
vehicles available, the Chevolet Caprice and the Ford Crown
Victoria, and observing what other companies were doing with minivans, Yellow Cab Service Corporation decided to adopt the minivan as its taxicab vehicle for the future. As a result of that
decision, we have already purchased 125 1989 Plymouth Voyager minivans that seat six passengers. By 1994, we expect to be operating 1650 Plymouth Voyager minivans.
Why has Yellow Cab Service Corporation, and other taxicab companies across the country begun to adopt mini-vans? There are six reasons why minivans are as good as or better than a regular