City considering mandatory accessibility training for taxi and ride-sharing drivers

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The city is considering mandatory accessibility training for Edmonton taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber after advocates urged the council to make improvements for passengers with disabilities and seniors.


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Hoping for quick action and accountability, advisers on Monday asked staff to research how the regulations can be changed to achieve that outcome, and regular progress reports on program updates. rental vehicles to address both safety and accessibility issues.

Women’s, disability, older people, youth and anti-racism advocates berated councilors ahead of and during Monday’s meeting over the lack of action on concerns raised about sexual harassment and harassment. accessibility since at least 2017.

Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton (WAVE) committee member Bailey Dawn Coty said prioritizing accessibility is necessary for passenger safety.

“Too many times have I been stranded in the evening after calling a taxi until restaurants, my college campus, meetings or WAVE events close, even to get groceries, all because companies taxi companies don’t have enough accessible vehicles on the road,” she said.


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As a child, Coty said she was assaulted by a taxi driver who groped her while on a trip to the hospital.

“I have questions about the safety of women and other marginalized people in rental vehicles.”

WAVE’s Angelika Matson also urged advisers to act urgently.

“Although we don’t hear about it every time it happens, women everywhere face sexual harassment and violence and unfortunately rental vehicles are no exception,” she said. .

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi apologized for the delay and for those who felt ignored.

“I can understand your frustration and hear your frustration, and (I’m) determined to make change happen quickly,” he said. “I hope that in 2022 we will be able to implement security measures and in 2023 we can do more work.”


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Requests councilors make at the community and public safety committee meeting must be approved at a full council meeting at a later date.

Upcoming changes

Monday’s discussion came in response to an annual staff update on the rental vehicle program, what the administration plans to investigate — and bring to the board for bylaw updates — and achieve this year.

This year, staff planned to examine the possibility of centralized dispatch for accessible routes, mandatory cameras facing the interior and exterior of vehicles, the creation of an independent investigation and complaints process for carpooling, mandatory driver training, use of reserve funds for industry or user subsidies, options to verify rates and to improve its engagement process, among other initiatives.


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Some security changes have already been made to the industry. The Council tightened the rules in 2019 so that anyone convicted of a serious crime in the past 10 years cannot obtain a rental vehicle license or appeal the denial.

Cameras needed

A speaker said Monday that cameras should be included in all publicly accessible vehicles in the city.

Layal Abbas told advisers his 10-year-old brother Youssef, who is in a wheelchair and cannot speak, was injured on an accessible bus and the driver initially tried to hide what happened .

He had a big bump on his head and wasn’t alert, so they took him to the hospital and found both his arms were broken.

Confronted, Abbas said the company then changed its story, saying the seat belts failed when the driver pressed the brakes, sending the boy’s chair flying, pinning him underneath.

But without cameras, she’ll never know for sure what happened.

“Youssef cannot speak for himself. He couldn’t tell us he was in pain. He couldn’t tell us anything. And he’s perfect – I promise you guys, he’s the most perfect boy,” she said. “Non verbal or verbal, the only time I would like him to speak in his entire life is if he could speak about this, but unfortunately he cannot, and I am here to speak on behalf of the voiceless.

“If there were cameras on the bus, we wouldn’t have to ask questions.”

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