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Centralized wheelchair cab dispatch created to reduce wait times

Last Updated Dec 4, 2019 at 1:44 pm MST

(CREDIT: iStock)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Getting a cab in Calgary will soon be faster for those in wheelchairs, as the city has launched a centralized dispatch service for accessible taxis.

Operating under the name “WAV Calgary“–for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Calgary–it will pool the services of all active licensed accessible cabs and drivers and provide customers one point of contact to request a ride.

The centre will dispatch the closest cab, regardless of the company it is with, and provide approximate wait times.

“Wheelchair users take about 17,000 taxi trips a year, so they represent a sizable niche market for the taxi industry. Since these customers are paying the same metered rate as non-accessible users, we want to make sure they are getting the same level of service,” said Abdul Rafih, acting manager, compliance services, in a release.

The service will be different from Calgary Transit Access, according to Rafih, which is the booked bus or shuttle service for pre-registered clients. No pre-registration will be required for the service, so anyone who finds them injured and in a wheelchair temporarily will also be able to use it.

“It’s been very frustrating for customers who rely on wheelchairs,” said Lauri Brunner, chair of the city’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility, who added the new service is a game-changer.

“The wait times were often long, and wheelchair customers have told us that there have been times when they’ve missed medical appointments or social activities. This is very good news for persons who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters and need a taxi 24/7.”

You can download the WAV Calgary app for your phone or visit the service’s website to grab a cab.