A statement from Canadian Taxi Association President Marc Andre Way:
“Congratulations to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on the presentation of his first Budget.
We welcome the announcement that Ontario is helping to remove barriers to accessing COVID-19 vaccines with $3.7 million to provide safe, accessible transportation for persons with disabilities and older adults with limited mobility to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
We are pleased to see Ontario acknowledging the importance of providing safe, hygienic transportation options to senior citizens and others travelling to vaccination clinics during COVID-19, and we believe Taxis should be an important part of this plan. There is no need to invent new levels of bureaucracy to provide these services at taxpayers’ expense.
Ontario’s licensed, regulated Taxi industry already has the infrastructure, the technology and the professional staff to co-ordinate these trips. If the problem is that consumers cannot afford to pay for the service, the fastest, most efficient, and cost-effective solution is for Ontario to help subsidize trips using licensed, commercially insured Taxis.
Importantly, the Taxi industry understands the unique requirements of seniors who often do not have computers or smart phones. This lesson should have been learned when online booking of appointments did not work for this important community of people.
Taxi companies have fully-trained call centre staff on the ready to receive calls AND can also accept app or web-based bookings.
Only Taxi drivers are trained, have Vulnerable Sector Checks along with police background checks, have 24-hour commercial insurance, in-car cameras and shields for an added layer of protection. Only the Taxi industry offers on-demand wheelchair accessible service combined with all of these safety features.
This is a turnkey solution for the province unlike any that can be offered by other professional or volunteer transportation service in the province. We look forward to providing Minister Bethlenfalvy and Minister Cho with our experience and information in the days ahead as they determine how to most effectively invest the funding announced today.
The Taxi industry stands by, ready to assist in the COVID-19 vaccination effort. There is no need to spend the public’s tax dollars re-creating the private sector system which already exists.”