Minnesota Accessible Taxi is the brainchild of disabilities advocate Dale Findlay, who has served on disability advocacy boards for more than fifteen years. His idea is simple, “My service takes people where they want to go, when they want to go and ensures that when they disembark, they are safe.”
Though there are mobility services that serve the disabled community, Findlay says they are frequently cost prohibitive or too rigidly scheduled to support true independence. Findlay says some private-pay carriers charge a $20 minimum charge if the vehicle leaves Minneapolis plus up to $2.50 per mile. Moreover, these services use vehicles that do not accommodate all wheelchairs or more than one wheelchair. State-funded transportation companies are routed systems that require reservations up to four days in advance and are inflexible if the rider’s destination changes. Medical transport carriers are another option, but they are an option that is also expensive and route scheduled.
For disabled individuals who live in the suburbs, the mode of transportation is even more limited because transportation services end at 9:00 p.m. “If a person is out later than 8 or 9 o’clock, he’d be stranded,” said Findlay. “If the market supports it, our company would focus on round-the-clock, curb-to-curb service for people in suburban communities. In addition, we will ensure that riders successfully enter their destination and return home safely.”
Findlay, a guest service team leader at the Target Southdale Greatland store in Edina, and a proclaimed extrovert, proposes a model that is much closer to taxi services provided for the ambulatory population—where service is provided on time at a reasonable cost so people with disabilities can get to work on time, meet friends for dinner, or participate in spontaneous recreation.
“The mission of Minnesota Accessible Taxi is to give people the opportunity to have as much independence as they possibly can so they can live their lives to the fullest. Findlay said, “This business model is designed so we can provide a useful service at competitive rates so that more disabled people achieve greater independence.”
Findlay has established an answering service to measure the level of interest in the community for accessible, affordable transportation and to gauge the interest of potential investors. “We want to hear from the people who are hungry for this type of service and from investors who share my passion for providing it,” said Findlay.
Dale Findlay brings more than fifteen years of experience in retail sales, marketing, and customer service to his role as director of sales at Minnesota Accessible Taxi. His career includes leadership roles at Target Stores, and at Hennepin Technical Center in Eden Prairie, where he earned a degree in retail management in 1987. He has served on the People with Disabilities Task Force at the University of Minnesota and on the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services Advisory Board. He is president of Mobility for Independence, and a board member for United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota, where he served as chair of the fund development and the new board member search committees.
He is a frequent volunteer for activities that have included the Fair Fares Coalition for Metro Mobility, the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon, and the Initial State Theatre Collective through which he developed material for and performed in “Creeps,” a play about five men with cerebral palsy. In 1992, Findlay received the title of Optimist of the Year by the Bloomington Optimist Club.
For more information about Minnesota Accessible Taxi, please call 763-767-2503.