Four taxi companies providing adapted transit services in Montreal are warning the future of their operations is in jeopardy.
Representatives gathered outside the head offices of the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), the city’s public transit authority, on Wednesday to demand more funding to help continue to serve those with reduced mobility.
They say they need more support from both the municipal and provincial governments in order to keep their services running.
Frédéric Prégent, president of Taxelco, said that it has lost between 20 and 30 per cent of its workforce in the past two years. The company requires higher subsidies on its contracts to carry out the work due, in part, to the rising prices of gas.
“They provide us support to live a full life, to be employed, to have a dating life, to go out and enjoy ourselves at restaurants,” said Laurent Morissette, treasurer of the inclusion group RAPLIQ, on the service transit taxi companies provide.
“Most of the taxis are under contract with the STM so no regular adaptive taxis are available most of the time,” he added.
The STM is providing a gas premium to adaptive taxi drivers retroactive to March 1. According to Prégent, that isn’t enough to offset the current labour shortage.
“What we foresee for the future is that there’s going to be more that leave the industry,” he said.
Morissette is advocating that people with disabilities should be included in the process to find a solution.
“We need to consult more with the users. We have to have a multi-level conversation,” Morissette said.
The taxi companies are looking for an additional $15,000 to $20,000 to help offset the costs of purchase and modifications of their adapted taxis.