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Cab companies clamp down on extra charges for disabled passengers

A Toronto taxi ride will cost $1 less starting Nov. 1. Louie Palu / The Globe and Mail via The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Four major Toronto taxi companies announced a plan on Tuesday to allow customers in wheelchairs to have equal access to vehicles without extra fees.

“I am glad that action is being taken,” said frequent cab user Alessia Di Virgilio, in a press release. “I was regularly quoted double or triple the fare because I use a wheelchair.”

On his website, city councillor Josh Matlow states: “Passengers cannot be charged for the transportation of wheelchairs. This means that people with disabilities must be charged the same rates as people without disabilities. Licensed taxicab services that charge flat rates to people with disabilities are in violation of the Municipal Code.”

Beck, Co-Op, Royal and Scarborough Taxi are asking City Hall to amend the passenger Bill of Rights and fee notice in cabs to provide more information about prohibited fees.

“We are very committed to ensuring that our customers have equal access to transportation in this city,” said Spiros Bastas, a spokesperson for Royal Taxi.

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The companies are asking all dispatch offices to post a reminder to staff that charging wheelchair-bound passengers more is not allowed, and devise a disciplinary system that ranges from warnings to termination if drivers do not comply.

“We hope the City of Toronto will do its part to stop this from happening,” said Clara Matheson, Di Virgilio’s lawyer.

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