On Tuesday, 4 May 2021, BCA hosted a panel discussion on Taxi and Rideshare Transportation with particular focus on the issues and opportunities these services offer people with blindness or vision impairment. Graeme Innes, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Company Director and dog guide user, hosted the session and welcomed Jen Moon, Principal Advisor – Access and Stakeholder Engagement Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, Simon Purssey – Head of Client Services 13CABS, Dam Ogundeji – Public Transit Australia & New Zealand, Uber and Vaughn Bennison – Taxi and Rideshare user, and dog guide user as panel members.
Though it is true that unacceptable and poor behaviour and valid frustrations have been experiences for people who are blind or vision impaired using taxi and rideshare services, this was not a forum to explore advocacy issues or complaints. The focus of this event was to discover solutions and discuss how users and operators can continue to work together to improve experiences.
Discussion centred on challenges, opportunities, and recent improvements in the areas of taxi and rideshare services for users that are blind or vision impaired. The panel took questions from Graeme and event attendees, many of which focussed on driver training, consequences for drivers who unlawfully refuse rides and dog guides. Both representatives from 13CABS and Uber vowed to follow up user complaints and enforce strict driver codes of conduct.
If you have issues with taxi or rideshare services, you can take these up with the service provider and if you wish to discuss an advocacy matter, you may contact the BCA advocacy team.