Everyone – including people with disabilities, seniors, and families – deserves equitable access to taxicabs Sault Ste. Marie. In truth, we are perplexed that our City’s taxi owners do not share this view and are surprised by the resistance of taxi owners to add accessible taxis to their fleet.
In the debate around whether the Sault Ste. Marie’s taxi fleet should include accessible taxis, we don’t want to pit passenger against passenger. Our plan continues to evolve as we strive to provide solutions by working with the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Police Services Board.
At present 0% of the City’s taxis are accessible. Calls for accessible taxis are referred to specialized medical transportation services, costing $30 for a one way fare, whether it is to cross the street or to travel across town. This service is not on-demand and often requires booking 1 or 2 days in advance. Further, both of these transportation providers have limited days and hours of service. To be clear, what this means is persons with a mobility device in Sault Ste. Marie must pay a higher fare for accessible transportation, and may not be able to access same day or on-demand service. These service providers also have limited evening and Saturday service, with no service at all on Sunday.
Sault Ste. Marie taxi providers claim there is little demand for accessible taxi service, however an explanation for the lack of service requests would be that the cost is high, and lack of available service has created an environment where people with a mobility issue do not call except in emergencies.
Think about how your life would be different if your spontaneity was a day in the making.
To have a full perspective on this issue the following points are worth considering:
SCI Ontario is promoting a reasonable, phased-in approach; we are not asking that all cabs be accessible tomorrow, but that when a new car is purchased it is replaced with an accessible vehicle.
SCI Ontario believes a 15-20 minute, on-demand service is fair – the same level of service that all other citizens of Sault Ste. Marie enjoy.
Other cities in Northern Ontario have expanded their accessible fleet of taxis – and without significant price increases to passengers.
We want our city to be age friendly, which includes accessible taxis for all citizens which include persons with a disability. We are committed to working with the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Police Services Board to get us there.
Chief Executive Officer