Taxi bylaw change will ensure service dogs can ride
The City of Regina is preparing to update its taxi bylaw to ensure passengers who use service dogs can take the animal with them in taxicabs.
Many in the industry already allow for service animals, however city officials say there are regular complaints from people with disabilities about access to taxis.
"Passengers with service animals face high rates of refusal (more than 50 per cent) when requesting a taxicab," according to a report prepared by the city.
A recommendation, now under consideration at city hall, will require licensed taxis to allow for a service dog with no additional fees.
Chris Parchman is visually impaired and uses a seeing eye dog and notes that service dogs help a variety of people.
"Diabetic dogs, epileptic dogs, hearing impaired dogs," he said. "The cab companies ... realize in this day and age they have to provide that service to everybody."
He says when he calls a cab, he tells the company he has a service dog with him.
"And they'll send me a driver that doesn't have a problem with dogs," he said.
The new bylaw would mean any cabbie would have to be dispatched, not just someone who is agreeable to dogs.
"Current human rights legislation actually requires that cabs accept people with service animals unless there's an undue hardship reason not to," Kelly Scherr, an official with the City of Regina, said. "We're bringing our by bylaw into compliance, into alignment with that legislation."
Sandy Archibald, the operations manager at Regina Cabs, told CBC News her company does provide service, without any added fees, to people with service animals.
"I don't know that that's ever been an issue," Archibald said. "I suppose it's not bad to have it in the bylaw."
The revamped bylaw is expected to be in place in the new year.
With files from CBC's Dean Gutheil