COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – An elderly woman in a wheelchair experienced a major Canada Day disappointment yesterday in Coquitlam.
She waited three hours for an accessible taxi, only getting a pick up at midnight.
According to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, this woman had a reservation for a 9 p.m. pickup at Town Centre Park with Bel Air Taxi, but the accessible cab never showed.
Stewart waited with this woman and says she needed to be checked out by paramedics as the rain came down and the temperatures dropped. He says a taxi company eventually delivered a ride after a shouting match with a dispatcher.
“There were no other options,” says Stewart. “We were phoning anyone we could think of to try and find a vehicle that could accommodate a wheelchair. In the end, our yelling at the dispatcher at Coquitlam Taxi eventually produced a taxi at midnight.”
“That service is meant to be for the priority service of the accessible cab licenses that are granted to these cab operators. It didn’t work last night, and I was embarrassed to be sitting there with her,” he adds.
Stewart has contacted Bel Air taxi and says he will be raising this issue with the provincial government as well, calling this situation unacceptable.
“Clearly, the system isn’t working right now in Coquitlam if a person in a wheelchair can be stranded in the rain for three hours waiting for a taxi,” he tells us.
Stewart says this is not the first time there have been problems with his city’s three taxi companies, which he says are all owned by the same entity.
NEWS 1130 has contacted Bel Air taxi for comment on this story.