Edmonton Woman Wants Change After She, Her Service Dog Were Left Waiting for a Taxi

Alison MacKinnon
CTV News Edmonton
Updated Dec. 28, 2022

Marla Smith and her service dog Kuno like to spend time doing things around the city, so she’s not very happy about being left at Rogers Place last Friday with no ride.

“I booked for a 6 p.m. cab to get us for the 7 p.m. game and I booked for a 10:15 p.m. pickup and they did advise it could be up to 40 minutes after that,” she explained.

Despite being a few minutes late to the game, the drop-off worked out well. But the pick up proved disastrous.

Smith, her friend and Kuno were all left waiting for hours. So they called the taxi-line.

“Finally getting through to somebody I explained we’ve been waiting since 10:15 p.m. You know, ‘Now we’re at 90 minutes not 40 minutes. What are we looking at?’ And they came back with, ‘Well we’re having trouble getting a pet friendly unit that can take the service dog,'” Smith recalled.

Kuno has government identification proving he’s a service dog, which means under Alberta’s service dog act, Kuno can use any cab whether it’s pet friendly or not.

After telling the dispatcher that, Smith said the explanation from Co-op Taxi changed.

“Suddenly the story was, ‘Well my taxis, I’ve only got two of them, one’s in the north end, one’s in Acheson. You’re looking at another 60 to 90 minutes you should probably call another company,'” Smith said.

So that’s what Smith did and an hour later she had her cab.

“I’m a pretty capable and competent person. All of a sudden one person doesn’t give me the accommodation or the accessibility and I’m rendered completely powerless and vulnerable,” Smith said.

She shared her ordeal on social media, leading to a backlash and calls to boycott the company, but Smith says that further hinders her community.

“That just hurts the ability for people to get the accessible transportation they need. We need more of this. What we need is standards and education,’ she said.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to Co-op taxi for an interview but the company did not respond to multiple requests.

Original at https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/edmonton-woman-wants-change-after-she-her-service-dog-were-left-waiting-for-a-taxi-1.6211069