There is a part of me that retains a naïveté, leftover from another era. If you let people know that there are ways to be more helpful, generous, and supportive to those who could really benefit, they would welcome this information and use it wisely. Last week I wrote about a disappointing taxi experience. Since then I have tried to contact the owner and manager of the large, longstanding company to discuss my concerns and suggestions. Several messages and several weeks later, I am still waiting to be called back. A couple of other companies I contacted stated they did have seniors discounts but were very vague and reluctant to provide information about how to access them.
Uber is a new taxi service that has brought a lot of attention to the taxi industry in the GTA and this dialogue is important and timely. I have tried to contact them but cannot find a phone number. I want to ask if the drivers are licensed and insured, are there any background checks and how much information do they require about private drivers who join. The idea that someone with bi polar disorder or schizophrenia, an addiction or a child predator can be a private driver is terrifying. Being able to confirm that standards are in place is crucial to feeling safe and protected.
Taxis are licensed and controlled by local municipalities and there are a limited number of licenses. Those who are licensed or work for someone who owns a license can work in the taxi business but no one else so it does discourage customer service since there is no incentive to compete with fares, benefits etc. Monopolies can do whatever they want and have little incentive to improve services or benefits to customers, or at the very least, be open to conversations and innovations.
I don’t expect or require anyone to always agree with me as healthy debate is crucial to a healthy community. If anything I write about matters so that you can add your own voice and direct your own views where they will do the most good. My daughter once told me this inspiring anecdote when I was feeling weary about really being able to make the world a better place:
“A tiny pebble appears insignificant. However as it rolls down a cliff and gathers earth, grass, other pebbles and momentum, and by the time it reaches the bottom it has become a powerful boulder.”
So, fellow pebbles, wherever you are, stay with me. I will be tackling much heavier subjects in blogs to come.