Focus groups planned to assess need for accessible taxis

A row of taxis. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The City of Sarnia is looking to improve accessible taxi service for those living with disabilities.

The Sarnia Accessibility Advisory Committee will be conducting three focus groups this month (December) to determine the need for accessible on-demand taxis and to develop a plan to address that need.

Accessibility Coordinator Dale Mosley said the provincially mandated consultations, part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Standards, will determine how they move forward.

“We’ve already done a survey out to the public, and now we’re doing focus groups to determine if there are any gaps in this community and basically come up with a recommendation based on what we’re seeing through this information that we’re gathering,” he said. “One of the survey respondents stated that there was a need for an accessible taxi during the night hours because of a specific example of wanting to go to the emergency room, but not wanting to call an ambulance. That person wasn’t able to get a hold of an accessible taxi.”

Mosley said 15 people responded to the survey, launched earlier this year. He said they’re looking for more input.

“Basically what we’ve learned is the current service provider is doing a really good job, but it seems like there is going to be a need for more accessible taxis in town and also at various times.”

Mosley said focus groups and interviews may be added to develop a plan for on-demand accessible taxi services, depending on community need.

The focus groups will be held on December 3 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Strangway Centre, December 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Sarnia City Hall, and December 10 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Sarnia Arena.

Mosley said for those unable to attend a meeting, can call him at 519-332-0330 ext. 3307.