jeff hodson/metro vancouver

 

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon greets transportation inspectors before announcing a Taxi Bill of Rights in Vancouver yesterday.



Taxi drivers who pick up people and fail to take them to their destination will face a $288 fine, B.C.’s Transportation Minister said yesterday.



Drivers, however, can still refuse passengers if they are drunk and out of control.



Kevin Falcon announced yesterday the creation of a Taxi Bill of Rights, a statement of principles that govern the rights of both passengers and drivers in the Lower Mainland.



He instigated the bill after receiving complaints from people who were refused transport from Downtown to the suburbs.



Under the bill:



  • Passengers have the right to courteous drivers and clean, safe taxis. They are also entitled to travel the most economical route and pay by cash, credit card or voucher.

  • Drivers have the right to refuse passengers if they are breaking the law or being offensive, unruly or racist. They can also refuse in order to protect their safety or if the passenger refuses to pay a deposit on longer trips.





"By looking at who a driver can refuse it’s a clear message that we’re not there to act as a paddy wagon to take out the drunks of the Downtown core, but rather the individuals that want to get home," said John Palis, general manger of Black Top Cabs.



Getting people home from Downtown after closing time can’t be the sole responsibility of cab drivers, he said, adding that public transportation needs to run later.



Sting operations to ensure drivers are not refusing fares will begin in mid-February, Falcon said.




jeff.hodson@metronews.ca