The sole taxi operated by All Access Taxi — a cab company with 50 licenses. (Patricia Sullivan/The Washington Post)

An Arlington taxi company that said it would be the first in the nation to offer only wheelchair-accessible vehicles has managed to put just one such cab on the streets in the past 18 months.

Despite being awarded 50 operating licenses in late 2014, All Access Taxi has struggled to find drivers willing to buy their own accessible vans at a time when ride-sharing, app-based services like Uber and Lyft have dramatically reduced demand for taxis, owner Julie Piché said.

Drivers, she said, are not willing to buy the expensive vans unless they have a guaranteed revenue stream, such as permission to operate at nearby Reagan National Airport. Piché said she has 18 potential drivers lined up to work at the airport but is waiting for approval from the Transportation Security Administration.

The All Access Taxi company has had trouble finding drivers willing to invest in expensive accessible vehicles. (Patricia Sullivan/The Washington Post)

Last year, the vehicle was summoned to ferry passengers a total of 10 times, county records say. So far this year, the taxi has made about 50 trips, almost all from local hotels, the company’s operations manager said.

The lack of cabs and calls for service has raised concern among county officials, who are considering revoking or suspending some of Piché’s permits. Angie de la Barrera, Arlington County’s taxi regulator, said the county is no longer sure there is enough demand to support the 97 wheelchair-accessible vans officials have authorized in the county.

The number of calls for taxis in Arlington plummeted 33 percent between 2013 and 2015, a July 1 county report shows, probably a result of the increasing popularity of the app-based ride services. During that period, the number of requests for wheelchair-accessible taxis dropped 8 percent. Red Top Cab, the county’s biggest taxi company, saw a 10.7 percent drop in requests for accessible vehicles, from 26,025 trips in 2013 to 23,240 in 2015.

Disabled county residents say there is still considerable need for wheelchair-accessible taxis — especially vehicles that don’t have to be ordered days in advance. In addition to having only one vehicle, All Access Taxi has not marketed itself well in the county, they said, so people who need accessible vans rarely call the company to request a ride.

The county awarded the certificates to All Access Taxi after disability advocates lobbied for more accessible cabs in December 2014, saying they needed to be able to call for a cab “spontaneously.”

“I cannot say to my friends [on the spur of the moment], let’s go out to dinner,” said Rosemary Ciotti, a nurse practitioner and business owner who uses a wheelchair. “If you come in late at night from the airport, you could wait an hour-and-a-half before they find an accessible taxi.”

Most wheelchair-accessible taxis in Arlington must be reserved in advance.

There is a paratransit operation in Arlington called STAR, and MetroAccess provides door-to-door paratransit service for those unable to use buses or Metrorail. Red Top has 28 wheelchair-accessible vehicles, many of which it operates on contract with organizations that serve people with disabilities.

Arlington Blue Top Cabs has certificates for 19 wheelchair-accessible vehicles, but — like All Access — it has had trouble finding drivers and is only operating a fraction of that number, said company President John Massoud.

Jeanette Green, Ciotti’s neighbor who also relies on a wheelchair, said even ordering a cab in advance often proves unreliable. In May, she and her husband were headed to Cozumel, Mexico. They had booked an early flight and needed a 5 a.m. pickup by an accessible taxi.

They called Red Top three days ahead, and checked back with the dispatcher, Green said, but the taxi never arrived. By the time they got into their own vehicle, drove to the airport and parked, they missed their flight.

“We got on the next flight, but we had to pay a change fee and for airport parking for a week,” Green said. “Yes, we need more accessible cabs.”

Charles King, Red Top’s vice president, said he wasn’t familiar with the incident. “Taxis should never not turn up,” he said. “Something else had to happen, because advance trips are our first priority of the day.”

There are 847 taxis permitted in Arlington, the largest number of any suburban jurisdiction in the Washington area. The District, in contrast, has 7,409 taxis. Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has recommended that no additional taxis, including wheelchair-accessible cabs, be authorized in the county this year.

De la Barrera said she and the county attorney’s office are examining the law about suspension or revocation of existing certificates, and she is talking to people in the disability community to see whether demand has changed. She will report her findings to the County Board in the fall.

Piché said she continues to think there’s a base of customers who will eventually support her business.

“The minute people realize what services are available, you’ll see demand go through the roof,” she said, predicting that approval from TSA could be a turning point. “I’m hopeful the county will give us a little leeway. . . . If I can get five drivers on the road in the next month, I think I’ll be able to get 50 out there pretty quickly.”