WATCH: A national Paralympic athlete says he was treated unfairly by a cab company. The Victoria man was recently charged a wheelchair fee. As Kori Sidaway reports, he says it’s discriminatory.
Chris Daw is used to getting around on a wheelchair. But he never expected to be charged extra because of it.
“I phone the cab company and I said well what’s this all about? And they said this is a service that we charge disabled people to be strapped in. I was shocked, I was absolutely baffled,” said Daw.
Daw was on a day trip with his family Saturday and needed to take a taxi from the ferry to Tsawwassen Mall.
He hailed a Delta Surrey Green Cab when he noticed that the meter was running before he got into the taxi.
The company told him that it was a standard ‘service fee’ for getting people with disabilities into their cabs.
“So I did a little research and the fact is that it’s actually illegal to charge that fee for me to be buckled in,” said Daw.
Under British Columbia’s standard for taxi rates, fare starts only after the car starts moving.
Extra service charges, for anything, are illegal.
“Anybody who does that is not allowed, and any time it comes to the notice of management they’ll bring him in and throw the book at him. Simple as that,” said President of B.C.’s Taxi Association Mohan King.
“It’s not acceptable and will not be accepted at all in any company.”
Green Cabs, while they weren’t available for an interview, said they are suspending the driver and are investigating further, with the hope to re-educate their drivers.
But Daw worries this may be a much wider issue.
“If that’s happening in Vancouver, how many other cities across Canada are doing a similar practice? And often people with disabilities are fearful to speak out,” said Daw.
For Daw’s partner, this issue of discrimination against people with disabilities goes well beyond just hailing a taxi.
“How as a society are we still treating people who are disabled as second class people?” asked Elizabeth vanDrongelen.
“It’s one of those here it is again. It continues on to show me that society hasn’t caught on the idea that disabled people are people. It’s frustrating to watch this continue on happening.”
For now, Daw is relieved that Green Cabs is looking into the matter but he’s calling for people to speak up if they encounter the same issue.