Victoria Tuesday, February 6, 2024 10:30 AM
“Building a better, stronger future for all British Columbians means making it easier for everyone to get where they need to go,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Everyone deserves the peace of mind that they will be able to get to their doctor’s appointment, be able to go to a concert or join their friends for dinner across town without worrying about a getting a taxi home. Supporting taxi operators to get more wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road means that the people who count on these inclusive, accessible options are able to access the services they need.”
People who depend on accessible taxis often experience longer wait times or lack of service. To address this, the Province developed the funding program in 2023 to help make accessible taxis more available by offsetting the costs that taxi companies and owner-operators face in providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This year’s expanded program funding will build on the success of last year’s grants by providing further incentives for taxi companies and drivers to invest in accessible vehicles.
“The industry is answering the call to provide better service for people with accessibility needs and this funding will remove barriers – both for riders, and for the people who make this their livelihood,” said Dan Coulter, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Transit. “This advances the Province’s commitment made under the Accessible British Columbia Act to improve accessibility standards in transportation. It also helps the industry meet the needs of clients and makes getting around easier and safer for everyone.”
As much as $7.8 million is available for this round of funding under the program. Funding will partially subsidize eligible applicants for costs related to vehicle maintenance, converting an existing vehicle, purchasing a converted vehicle, or purchasing a new vehicle and converting it. This year’s funding will also offer rebates to offset the higher costs of fuel and insurance that operators of accessible vehicles face.
To support applicants, this year’s application period was extended from four to six weeks and will close on March 3, 2024. Funding for the program comes from revenues collected from the per-trip fee that came into effect in September 2019 to offset the regulatory costs of ride-hailing operations and support accessible transportation.
Unlike ride-hailing companies, taxi companies are required, as part of their operating license, to reserve a portion of their fleet for accessible vehicles.
Susie Chant, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility –
“Everyone benefits when our communities are inclusive and when all people have access to transportation. We’re working hard to remove barriers for people with disabilities and this funding to taxi companies and owner-operators shows that a more inclusive and accessible B.C. for all is possible when we work together.”
Mohan Kang, president, B.C. Taxi Association –
“Meeting the needs of our clients is important. With this funding, we will be able to support more people who rely on accessible vehicles. Having this funding to keep up with the costs of operating these vehicles will ensure more drivers across the province get behind the wheel of an accessible vehicle.”
Carolyn Bauer, spokesperson, Vancouver Taxi Association –
“The Passenger Transportation Accessibility Program has made it easier for our drivers here in Vancouver to serve people that rely on accessible vehicles. This round of funding will make it easier for the drivers of accessible taxis to continue to do this important work, or for more drivers to adapt their vehicles so we can meet the needs of everyone.”
Neil Belanger, CEO, BC Aboriginal Network of Disability Services –
“Barriers to accessibility shouldn’t stop people from living an active life. This provincial program supporting the taxi industry ensures more people across British Columbia can be active members of their community by putting additional accessible vehicles on the road.”
To view more details about funding eligibility, visit:
This is on BC Govt Website go to the link here