Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax Published on January 21, 2014
[HALIFAX, NS] – HRM’s accessibility advisory committee is looking for new ways to crack down on taxi drivers who refuse to accept passengers with a service dog.
It’s illegal for drivers to refuse anyone with a service dog, unless the driver has a certified medical exemption.
However, two committee members said Monday they continue to hear about the problem from friends and relatives.
“Why isn’t it being enforced, why does this keep happening if it’s a law?” said Patricia Gates.
Yvon Clement said he’s tried to report several incidents three involving his wife to companies and the city’s taxi commission, but was told he needed the driver’s roof light for any enforcement to take place. He said that’s a tall order for someone who’s visually impaired.
“You can usually find out what company it is, but the roof light number is a little harder, especially after they drove away,” he said.
Drivers are supposed to receive training and written material clarifying their legal obligations, and can face penalties ranging from fines to loss of license for violations if they’re caught.
Committee member and regional councillor Steve Craig said the problem is “unacceptable” as is the response that nothing can happen without a roof light.
“There’s probably something we can do to say, if there’s a visual disability complaint that comes through, the traditional things that you’d ask for just don’t work,” he said. “Not just well, you don’t have a roof light, that’s it. To me, that’s not good enough.”
Craig will work with Gates and Clement to explore enforcement options and report back to the committee.
“The Premier Online Magazine for Disability Accessibility”