British Columbia·WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

Vancouver taxi companies say woman's story highlights why more accessible cabs needed

A Vancouver woman who uses a wheelchair says she was let down by a cab company, but the taxi industry says her story shows more accessible cabs are needed.

'We do need these taxis, we need them ASAP' says taxi association

Marlene White says she felt dismissed when a taxi dispatcher suggested she use another cab company. (CBC News)

A Vancouver woman who uses a wheelchair says she was let down by a cab company, but the taxi industry says her story demonstrates that more accessible cabs are needed.

Marlene White was out shopping in her power wheelchair in East Vancouver last summer when she got a flat tire.

"It suddenly went poof! It kind of popped, and then it just very quickly deflated," she said. 

She says she phoned Vancouver Taxi for a ride, but the dispatcher told that all the cabs were are on the other side of the city and it take be at least half an hour for any of them to get there.

White says the dispatcher then asked her if she had tried another company, which she says left her feeling dismissed. So instead, she found her own way home on the flat.

"Fortunately for me there was a bus came — boom —  right there," says White. "And I thought, oh I'll just flop, flop, flop, on it and I got on."

The Vancouver Taxi Association admits the response could have been better. But it also says the incident points to the need for more accessible cabs.

Last year the four big Vancouver taxi companies applied for 78 new licenses. The Passenger Transportation Board granted only 20 of them, saying the demand from the public wasn't there.

"We do need these taxis. We need them ASAP," said Carolyn Bauer with the Vancouver Taxi Association. "There are long waits that these passengers are waiting."

The Passenger Transportation Board says it's reconsidering the application.

And in a report to City Hall this week, city staff recommended that council support the association's request for more accessible cabs. 

It's not clear when the board will make its final decision on the licenses.


What's your story?

This story is part of a special CBC Vancouver News series, What's Your Story? The series focuses on issues pitched by our audience about what matters to them. 

If you have a story to pitch about an issue in your community, send it to mylocalstory@cbc.ca

With files from Stephanie Mercier

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