Province supports sustainable, accessible taxi services

MORE people with accessibility challenges throughout the province will soon have better access to wheelchair-accessible taxis, reducing wait times and allowing them to get around their communities with ease.

“Reducing the costs of maintaining wheelchair-accessible taxis will keep existing vehicles on the road in good condition and encourage more supply,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “It will also make it easier for companies to recruit and retain drivers for these vehicles, making sure more people will have access to these specialized taxis provincewide.”

Since its launch in January 2023, the Province has provided $2.6 million in grants to 51 taxi companies through its Passenger Transportation Accessibility Program Maintenance Rebate. The funding is helping reduce the financial effects of necessary maintenance work on nearly 400 wheelchair-accessible taxis.

By reducing the expenses related to owning and maintaining accessible taxis, the Province is making it easier for more operators to bring more of these vehicles into their fleets. This can improve the ability for more British Columbians to get where they need to go, when they need to get there.

“These rebates are clearing the financial barriers that have created a real challenge to expand access for people with disabilities,” said Dan Coulter, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit. “Thanks to the Passenger Transportation Accessibility Program, more people will have reliable transportation to work, to see family and friends, and to get around their communities.”

During the next two years, the ministry will launch additional funding streams that will focus on reducing the cost of operating, purchasing and converting wheelchair-accessible taxis, and providing drivers with training to better support the passengers who rely on them. The funding will help the taxi industry ensure that more wheelchair-accessible taxis are available to meet the needs of British Columbians.

Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility, said: “Supporting more accessible and inclusive businesses is critical in our ongoing work to remove barriers and build a province that works for everyone. Working with our partners in the taxi industry helps ensure people in B.C. have access to the transportation they need in their day-to-day lives.”

Neil Belanger, CEO, Indigenous Disability Canada/British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, said: “The ability to access wheelchair-accessible taxis when needed should never be a hit-and-miss endeavour. Inclusive and accessible communities always have access to reliable and accessible transportation for all people. The Passenger Transportation Accessibility Program, through its rebate initiative, is working to ensure that reality and, in doing so, recognizing the overwhelming contributions that persons with disabilities bring to all aspects of our communities.”



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