Cabbie complaint line gets compliments too
Toronto Sun January 7, 2017 Jenny Yuen
TORONTO – The cabbie complaints have been steady, but so have been the compliments.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance says about a quarter of the some 130 emails sent to its email account since it launched in August to address complaints about ride refusals have applauded taxi drivers.
“The best was probably the driver who scooped up the woman who was being beaten on the sidewalk,” executive director Rita Smith said. “A TTC bus was just driving right by her and the guy was just wailing on her, and the cab driver scooped her up and drove her away. He didn’t ask for payment, he just drove her to safety.”
The next day, the woman showed up at Beck cabs to thank the driver and an insurance company gave him a reward of Raptors tickets, Smith said.
As for the emails that aren’t so glowing, Smith says the bulk of the complaints happen over weekends — Friday and Saturday nights — during street hails.
“Ride refusals are almost tied now with horn honking outside hotels,” she said.
If a driver gets a complaint, Smith will forward the concern directly to the cab company to investigate and “if they don’t change their behaviour” after three warnings, the driver may be fired.
“The other thing that has been happening since Uber came to town are that drivers are asking for minimum fares,” she added. “They’re not flat-out refusing the ride, but say they’ll take them places for a minimum and that is illegal.”
The city cancelling cab driver training last May and handing out taxi driver licences to “anyone who shows up with cheque and driver’s licence” may be causing some of the complaints, she said, because “there are a lot of drivers out there that don’t know what the bylaws are.”
Smith has lobbied Councillor Jim Karygiannis to propose at the next licensing and standards committee meeting on Jan. 13 putting the complaints email address — TOtaxifeedback@gmail.com — on the back of tariff cards inside cabs.
“It’s definitely a good idea,” Karygiannis said. “We report stuff to MLS that requires immediate reaction, but the stuff like where you get cut off … and you want to say to them, ‘Please don’t do this,’ this is a good way of doing it.”
Smith advises passengers who have a bad ride or are refused one to snap a picture of the unique number 15-cm high on the taxi door and send it to the email address so the association can track the driver down.
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