Vancouver launches program to train taxi drivers in helping people with disabilities

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Vancouver is launching a new training program aimed at improving taxi accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities.

The program for taxi drivers, announced today (January 29) by Mayor Gregor Robertson, was created by the Vancouver Taxi Association (VTA), in conjunction with the city and the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD).

“The launch of ‘Ask-Listen-Act’ will help make our taxi fleet more accessible and convenient for local seniors and people with disabilities,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release.

The program will provide training to Vancouver taxi drivers in serving passengers with a range of disabilities, including those using wheelchairs, walkers and scooters, according to the city.

Drivers will also be trained in helping people with development disabilities, and passengers who are blind or deaf.

The initiative, which has been in development since April 2012, involved consultation with groups including the city’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, the Council of Senior Citizens’ of BC, and Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers.

“The VTA took the time to listen to what was needed and then act on developing this innovative training in partnership with the BCCPD to ensure that people with disabilities and seniors receive a safe and respectful taxi service,” said BCCPD executive director Jane Dyson.

The program will begin on February 3, and will be free for taxi drivers with Blacktop & Checker Cabs, MacLure’s Cabs, Vancouver Taxi, and Yellow Cab.

Comments (2) Add New Comment
cathy
Taxi drivers want to make money, do they get paid extra for doing this?
Loading and unloading disabled people/seniors etc. will take longer.
There is a real possibility of intimidation and abuse with vulnerable people.

For example, when i fell and broke my wrist and ribs, i went to the hospital and after a stay at emerg. was released, and sent home in a taxi.
The taxi was paid by voucher from the hospital. The driver was to fill in the amount and i was to sign when we arrived at my house.

Even though i was on heavy pain meds, i noticed how much the fare was, the driver made the voucher out for $10 more than was on the meter.
I refused to sign, he got mad and demanded that i sign. He used menacing hand gestures waving the voucher around.
I grabbed the voucher with my uninjured arm and changed the amount to the correct.
The driver was furious and didn't help me out of the cab.
I had a feeling that this driver had done this in the past as he so blatantly added $10 to the fare.

What's going to happen with this program? Will some drivers be expecting tips to make up for the extra time they spend?
Disabled people/seniors need specialized transportation, not cab rides.

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Eric Doherty
This is a good and necessary initiative, and it will probably improve the situation somewhat. But the track record from other jurisdictions is not that encouraging, taxi drivers can't afford the time it takes to provide safe service to the most vulnerable. They have to move quickly to the next fare in order to pay rent and feed their kids.
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