A video of a Vancouver Yellow Cab driver refusing to take a customer home to New Westminster because it’s “too far” has put the cab industry back under the microscope.
The incident happened Friday night, according to customer Kuldip Gill, who said he was trying to get home from a holiday party downtown.
The video opens with an exchange between Gill and the driver.
Gill: “You don’t want to drive me because it’s too far?”
Driver: “Too far, man.”
Gill: “Because you’re not going to make that much money?”
For the next five minutes the cab circles downtown Vancouver, with the driver asking Gill to exit the cab, and Gill refusing.
Later in the video, the driver accuses Gill of being too drunk, and says he feels unsafe with him in the car.
WATCH: Cab driver refusal
After about five minutes, Gill gives up and exits the cab.
Reached for comment, Yellow Cab general manager Carolyn Bauer described what she saw in the video as “absolutely disgusting, not acceptable, not company policy.”
The driver has been suspended, she said, and could face discipline “up to and including termination.”
“I’ve been in touch with the director of the company, this driver is off the road immediately,” she said. “Absolutely unacceptable. Our job is to provide safe transportation home.”
Bauer also apologized to Gill, saying he conducted himself in a perfectly reasonable manner.
She said drivers are only allowed to refuse service when their lives are in danger, something she said was clearly not the case in the video.
WATCH: Hailing a taxi during the holiday season in Vancouver (2016)
Gill said this isn’t the first time he’s been turned away by a cab driver.
“I lived in the West End for four years, and I had an issue trying to get cabs even then,” he said.
“Now that I’m back in New Westminster, I’ve been told flat out so many times before I even get in the cab that ‘No, no, no that’s too far.”
He described the incident as a matter of safety, particularly during the holidays when people have been drinking and need a safe way to get home.
He added that in retrospect, the interaction he had with the person trying to get into the cab could also have been dangerous.
“After the fact, I’m thinking to myself that could have gone south, like if this guy tried to pull me out of the cab just to try to get into the cab himself because it’s so difficult to get cabs downtown.”
Gill said he was meant to be attending two more Christmas parties on Saturday, which he won’t be doing now because of transportation concerns.
As for the punishment meted out to the driver, Gill described him as a “sacrificial lamb,” saying the problem is industry-wide, and not related to one man.
WATCH: Vancouver man says cabbie trapped him in taxi
He’s calling for new regulations for the taxi industry, and for the province to hurry up and approve ride-hailing services like Uber.
An independent review into the taxi industry and ride hailing is currently underway, with a report not due until 2018, and a legislative committee is currently reviewing a Green Party bill on the service.
That’s too slow for Gill.
“The industry needs to change. I mean this has been going on forever. And there’s so many people that this has affected that people sort of brush it off once in a while, and that’s just the way it is,” he said.
“We need better and more options in this city.”