Daniel J Towsey’s Review and Recommendations On Rules For Taxis
On ACPD rules for Taxi Drivers in HRM Final Version_1.
November 20th 2010
Hi Ms. Mary Wile . Councillor on HRM Committee for Persons With Disabilities.
I have read and reviewed the above noted.
Before I continue I would like to mention that I have spoken with taxi drivers and they have advised that there is no taxi driver training that they know of about people with
special needs and disabilities.
And from my experiences over the past year where I take taxis no less then six times a week, I can agree with that.
Issues about wheelchairs.
The info you provided seems to be accurate. But I do not use a collapsible wheel chair so I do not have much specific information to offer you.
Except that as with my four wheel mobility walker. I do not agree that drivers should be allowed to leave their trunks open and tied down against a wheel chair or walker that
does not fit in the trunk.
Reason being that the banging of the trunk down onto the walker or chair will damage and scratch the walker.
Most trunks have a lock mechanism that sticks out below the trunk lid lip. This mechanism will do serious damage to the walker or wheel chair, especially to the foam padded seat
Under no circumstances should a trunk be left open. Some drivers I have had actually do not even tie down the trunk and leave it wide open while driving. This is a huge safety
issue as the driver can not see behind him and the trunk well repeatedly and violently smash down on the walker when the car hits bumps or accelerates.
I think that drivers should treat my walker the same way they expect their car to be treated.
No driver would appreciate me banging into or scratching their car with my walker so why should they be allowed to do that to my expensive walker.?
I have just purchased my third walker this year. This one I have is very much the size and weight of a collapsed wheelchair.
This walker costs over $800 and can not be readily repaired or replaced as it is a specialized one from Switzerland.
About my four wheeled walker that also has a seat on it.
Some drivers have been courteous and have opened it for me and brought it to me when I try to get out of the car. But most drivers do not do this.
Drivers should be advised to always bring the walker to the passenger at the car door where the passenger is getting out.
But one important issue is that all walkers that have wheels also have locking brakes on them.
None of the drivers have ever been aware of this. I have advised some drivers that you should always lock the brakes on when handing a walker to a person who is disabled. And
that it is very dangerous. If an elderly person or anyone who has difficulties were to grab onto the walker for support and the brakes were not on they could have a violent fall as the walker would roll away as they tried
to stand out of the car while trying to support themselves on the walker.
A person getting out of a car can not reach or apply the brakes until they are standing behind it.
I advised drivers that all walkers with wheels have brakes and they all work the same way.
All you have to do is push down the brake leavers instead of squeezing them. The brakes are unlike those on bicycles which only work in one direction.
Also drivers should be advised to get out of their cars and go open the passenger door as people with walkers usually can not let go of the walker to open doors.
Also the driver should expect the the person with the walker will need to lean on the car or door for support. It would be advisable for the drivers to hold the door until the
passenger is seated.
I wonder why drivers refuse to put walkers on the floor with the wheels down in front of the back seat. Which is what walkers are designed to do.
My large walker like a collapsible wheelchair will not fit in most car trunks.. Even the large ex police cars (fords) do not have enough room in their trunks. I have found that
many smaller car have huge trunks like the buicks that can handle my large walker with ease.
Please note that the ex police cars (and there are many) all have a reduced trunk size because there is a huge plastic compartment in the trunks that the police used to use to
hold guns etc.
I think these obstructing plastic things should be removed if the car is to be used as a taxi.
I have had so many problems with Bobs dispatch and dealing with my walker.
Bobs always just makes excuses and generally just blames the drivers. Bobs says there is nothing he can do about the drivers attitudes in dealing with walkers.
Most drivers do not want to pick fares with walkers and do not even want to get out of their cars.
So Bobs has to be advised every time I call that my ride is a charge, I have a walker, I need the front seat and my name.
[I have asked Bobs to indicate that I need a large trunk and they say no we can not do that. We can only request a large car. I said to Bobs that is no good as many large cars
can not fit in a walker with wheels. And I need a car with a large trunk. Again Bobs answer is unfair. As the dispatcher has a computer screen and they can type anything they want on it when the call goes out and the driver
will see what ever is typed on the screen.
I have said to Bobs that I do not want my walker sticking out of the trunk and getting all scratched up as a result.]
This information is supposed to show up on the taxi drivers dispatch computer screen. But very often it is not on the screen. Which further causes me grief when I get drivers
that do not know and do not want to take walkers or charge calls.
I often do not find out that the charge information and my name is not on their screen until I arrive to my destination.
Which means that my getting out of the car can be delayed by as much as ten minutes while the driver has to call dispatch on his cell phone to get confirmation.
The drivers will not get my walker or let me out of the car until this is cleared up.
Why should I or the driver have to go through this. Many drivers take the aggravation out on me as this extra ten minutes is time wasted for the driver while his car also burns
up more fuel.
This delay costs the driver money and me time… Which should not be happening. As Bobs is very familiar with me and my account… I wonder if Bobs is doing it on purpose?
And remember Bobs always blames the drivers when it is the dispatcher that is causing the problems.
I have been stranded outside in the dark after hours when I left my doctors office and I could not get to a phone because they sent a car that had a small trunk. I refused to
let the driver tie down his trunk onto my walker. The car had a metal locking mechanism sticking out and it would of ruined my walkers seat. As well as scratch the paint off my metal walker which would of led to it looking
poorly and rusting.
One more issue that pertains to my disabilities… My disabilities are not visible and as such it causes me more difficulties. I have a broken back and many broken ribs..plus
other serious injuries.
Many drivers drive too aggressively and cause me serious pain as well as risking me haveing further injury.
I have had to ask some drivers to slow down and drive more gently. But some drivers refused to do this as they want to drive faster to get more calls.
Which brings us to Bobs attitude.. Where Bobs does not want to take the time to be courteous to my needs.
I have very limited use of my right arm and some drivers will not open my door for me to get out on windy days. I can pull the handle to open the door but I can not hold it against
Even when it is not windy I can barely open or close car doors..
So this brings us to the fact that drivers have told me that they have never been made aware of any training for special needs situations..
I wonder why this would be…
I am very disappointed with Bobs often very discourteous and at times even very rude service.
I am presently looking for a different taxi service.
I or anyone else should never have to go through what I have been going through with Bobs.
Please note that I find almost all drivers to be be very kind..but there have been so exceptions and those have been really bad.
Thank You Mary.
Please note that I have added some extra information because I will be forwarding a copy of this to the taxi commission……Thank You for Your efforts. Sincerely Daniel j Towsey
One more note. Due to my height, I had to have my wheelchair adjusted and I can no longer use any of the wheelchair accessible taxis in the halifax area as their roofs are to low.