British Columbia

Police consider charging cabbies who refuse suburban rides

Vancouver police are cracking down on cab drivers who leave people stranded in the downtown core.

Vancouver police are cracking down on cab drivers who leave people stranded in the downtown core.

A recent police sting operation found one-third of 82 taxi drivers refused to drive people out to the suburbs on Friday and Saturday nights.

'It was plainly clear our officers were not drunk or didn't create any sort of threat to the cab drivers.'—Tim Fanning, Vancouver police

Police are now considering penalties against the drivers who refused. Drivers are only allowed to turn down a fare if they believe the patron may be dangerous.

Over a two-day period earlier this month, two female officers posed as patrons trying to get rides after 1 a.m. from the Granville club district out to the suburbs.

Police spokesman Tim Fanning said the drivers refused even though they'd been warned there was a police sting happening.

"In this instance it was plainly clear our officers were not drunk or didn't create any sort of threat to the cab drivers. They just simply weren't picked up because they were wanting to go out of the Vancouver area," Fanning told CBC Radio.

Trish Wilson, a dispatcher with Maclure's Cabs says many cab drivers are so opposed to long trips, they're willing to chance getting caught.

"I'm actually surprised there weren't more refusals," she told CBC Radio.

Wilson says longer trips earn less money than a series of shorter trips and clients sometimes say they have no money at the end of a long trip.

"In the time it takes to take a car out to Coquitlam and back, he could have taken a half dozen trips downtown and made more money than in that one long trip," said Wilson.

Still, she says she's not defending cab drivers who break the rules.

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