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Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson's Centre

Epilepsy Blog

Using the taxi saver program with a seizure dog

 

 

There are an increasing number of people who use seizure response guide dogs, as well as other registered service dogs. Most members of the public love to learn about service dogs and having a seizure response guide dog is often a great way of educating the public about guide dogs and seizures. However, owners of guide dogs sometimes experience difficulties when they really shouldn’t. If you have a registered guide dog, that dog can accompany you anywhere that a pet may not be allowed- grocery stores, doctor’s offices, buses, etc. A registered guide dog can also accompany you in a taxi. It was recently brought to my attention that there are some with guide dogs who use the taxi saver program and who have had difficulties getting a taxi driver to take their dog. The Taxi Saver Program provides registered handyDART clients with greater convenience for spontaneous travel when handyDART cannot accommodate their travel needs. Taxi Saver provides a 50% subsidy towards the cost of taxi rides.

Terri Beaton is a representative on the Accessible Transit Advisory Committee of BC Transit and is a member of HeadWay. She brought this issue to the attention of the committee and received some great advice to pass on to our members.

  • First of all, if you have a registered guide dog a taxi driver who comes to pick you up must take you and your guide dog. Make sure your dog is registered as a certified service animal in BC. You can register your guide dog by sending his/her graduation certificate from a recognized training school to the Ministry of Justice, Corporate Policy and Planning Office (see http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/guideanimal/). They will then send you a certification card. Keep this card with you as you can be asked to identify your dog as a service animal when in a public place.
  • Another great piece of advice: when you call the taxi company, tell the dispatcher that you have a seizure assist dog with you. No one can legally refuse to transport your service dog but if you let the taxi dispatcher know that you have a dog with you, he/she will dispatch a dog-friendly person to pick you up.
  • If this advice fails and you are using the taxi saver program and a taxi driver refuses to transport you with a service dog, this violates your rights. First, call the manager of the taxi company and give him/her the chance to make it up to you. If this does not resolve the complaint, call BC Transit. BC Transit administers the taxi saver program and will advocate on your behalf.

Posted by Jennifer Morgan, Epilepsy Program Coordinator on 31st Mar 2014 11:05am