Officials say no problems with Access Calgary taxi service, despite complaints

CALGARY- A second person is complaining about a cab company refusing service to a person with disabilities, just days after a Global News story about a man with a walker not being able to get a ride.

Maureen Buckholz suffers from multiple sclerosis, and gets around with the help of a walker. She says that back in December 2010, she booked a ride home from work with Checker Cabs.

The driver arrived to pick her up, but she was never able to get in.

“He went into his cab, I’m thinking we’re getting ready to go,” she remembers. “I got up to the door and he drove off.”

After 30 minutes, another Checker Cab drove by and picked her up. Buckholz says the driver explained that some cabbies refuse Access Calgary trips.

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“I get the impression that they may not get the same fare that they get from a regular paying passenger.”

A 2011 report to the Taxi and Limousine Advisory Committee found that Access Calgary pickups pose ‘significant financial burden on drivers,’ partially because of the unpaid time it takes to load and unload passengers.

Kurt Enders, the president of Checker Cabs, says that Access Calgary fares are 10 per cent less. However, he disputes the idea that his drivers are being choosy about who they pickup.

“I don’t believe this is a disincentive to drivers,” Enders says.

The chair of the Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee adds that the unpaid time is offset by reduced licensing costs for vehicles with Access Calgary plates. Jonathan Campbell says he’s appalled that a cabbie would refuse service to a person with disabilities, and that the city receives few complaints.

“You’re representing a very, very small amount of complaints—if any—for a system that really does do its best to service all of Calgary,” Campbell explains.

Those who are refused rides are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report it, and ensure that they get a car number.

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