New Brunswick

Fredericton woman denied taxi service for living on city's northside

A Fredericton woman says she was screened by several taxi cab drivers, and denied a ride home based on where she lived.

Karen Pinchin said one driver yelled, swore at her to get out of his cab, after she requested ride home

A Fredericton woman says she was screened by several taxi cab drivers and denied a ride home based on where she lived. 1:30

A Fredericton woman says she was screened by several taxi cab drivers and denied a ride home based on where she lived. 

Karen Pinchin says she tried several times to take a cab home from Fredericton's bar district around midnight on Saturday.

But she said was denied multiple times by taxi drivers after she told them she was going to the city's northside. 

"Cabs would roll up and ask 'Where are you going?'" said Pinchin.

"I would tell them the northside and they would shake their heads and roll the window back up." 

Pinchin said she eventually slipped into a cab.

But after asking the driver to take her home to the northside, about an eight-minute drive away, she said the driver told her to leave the car and then cursed at her repeatedly when she refused. 

"He said, 'Get out of the cab, I can't take you there,'" said Pinchin.

She said he then pretended to call his company's dispatcher.

"I wasn't drunk," said Pinchin.

"So I told him I knew he wasn't calling the dispatcher, so he started grumbling and started swearing." 

Pinchin said eventually the driver contacted the dispatcher who told him to take the fare. She described the ride home as "very uncomfortable."

Shared problem 

Pinchin said she thinks there is something wrong with a cab system that will leave a woman alone on the street at night in order to make more fares from those living nearby. (Shane Fowler/CBC)
Eight hours after posting her story in a Facebook post, Pinchin's tale received more than 300 shares and dozens of comments from others stating she was not the only one upset with what some people consider a long-standing problem with Fredericton cab drivers. 

"I cannot believe what a common experience it is," said Pinchin.

"And it's not just women. It's women who have had to trick cabs into taking them home, and men who live on the northside and they come down to the bar with flashlights and they know they are going to have to walk 40 minutes home, across the Westmorland Street Bridge with a flashlight, because cabs won't take them home." 

CBC News attempted to contact management and the owner of Loyal Taxi, the company Pinchin says was involved in the incident. The company did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. 

"I don't want the cab driver who took me home to be punished himself," said Pinchin. 

"I don't want him to lose his job. I don't want anything bad to happen, because there were other cabs that turned me down. And so clearly there's a problem with how taxis operate in this city." 

City response 

Fredericton Mike O'Brien said a formal complaint has been filed with the city and staff are investigating. (Lauren Bird/CBC)
Pinchin did receive a response from Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien on Twitter stating, "This is not acceptable nor permitted. Staff will investigate and correct." 

In an email to CBC News, O'Brien said he learned about Pinchin's experience through social media.

"This was very concerning, and I have followed up with the individual and have since received a formal complaint. Staff is now investigating the incident," he said.

In an interview on Information Morning Fredericton, O'Brien said this isn't the first time this issue has come up.

"I seem to recall [this issue] flared up a bit a few years ago and I wasn't intimately involved with it. Some solution came up and it went away to the best of my knowledge," said O'Brien.

"It looks like a bigger problem than I thought it was."

The City of Fredericton's bylaw regulating taxis state four reasons a person may be refused service.

Those reasons include, if in the driver's opinion that person is intoxicated, if that person is indebted to the driver or taxi business, if the person is unable to pay for the ride, or if the person requests baggage or an animal, other than a Seeing Eye dog, be transported. Other than those reasons, the rules are clear.

"If you're in the business, you have to take the fare," said O'Brien.

About the Author

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton.

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