Taxi union questions new car-for-hire service
Published Tuesday, August 16, 2011 5:54PM EDT
While Ottawa seniors and people with disabilities are enjoying a new transportation service, the city's taxi driver's union says it's an illegal, unsafe business that's hurting their profits.
Wheels for the Wise is a service that will drive customers around for a flat rate – staying with them throughout the day.
Ottawa city council approved the service in March, and its users say it doesn't only give them a drive, but also a companion.
"I have a medical problem, I call them, they take me to the procedure - to the pharmacy," said Alexander Leslie, left with nerve and spinal injuries from military service. "They make sure I'm OK and they bring me right back to my apartment."
Jana Mitchell said she thought up the idea after her grandmother developed Alzheimer's.
"Often, doctor's appointments can be stressful," she said. "It's nice simply to have somebody there just to offer conversation and to know that they're there if you need them."
However, Ottawa's taxi driver's union said these drivers don't go through the same kinds of checks and inspections as their drivers do.
"How can we believe these people to drive our grandparents?" said Amrik Singh, president of the Ottawa Taxi Union. "They have no license from the City of Ottawa. In our view, these are bandit cabs and they must be stopped."
Ottawa city staff now says they're going to review the decision to approve Wheels for the Wise.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley