J.P. ANTONACCI / The Advance
Nov 30, 2011 – 10:22 AM
Taxicab passengers with disabilities or mobility issues that require the storage and transport of aids or assistive devices cannot be charged a higher fare than able-bodied passengers, according to provincial accessibility legislation discussed at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting in North Grenville.
According to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), the municipality cannot compel taxi companies to have an accessible cab in its fleet, but as of July 1 of this year, any company charging a higher fee to passengers using assistive devices can be found in violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
In addition, vehicle registration and identification information must be displayed on the rear bumper of all taxis as of January 2012, and that information must be available in an accessible format to customers.
It is up to taxi companies to make these changes, and the municipality will have to update its taxi bylaw to reflect this new reality, said CAO Andy Brown.
Only one company, Kemptville Taxi, is currently licensed to operate in North Grenville, and none of its vehicles are accessible, Brown said. The existence of North Grenville Accessible Transportation, which offers rides to people with mobility issues and special needs, helps offset the need for an accessible taxi, council noted.
The taxicab issue is just one of many accessibility considerations all Ontario municipalities will have to address as the provincial IASR is phased in over the coming years. By January, North Grenville must also ensure that emergency plans and public safety information is provided in accessible formats, something Brown said is accounted for in the municipality’s emergency management plan.
Between 2013 and 2021, the municipality will need to ensure that accessible standards are met over numerous categories, from employment standards and recruitment to libraries, information kiosks, customer service and website content.