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Complaint spurs widespread conversation about taxi passenger safety

Allegations of driver misconduct have spurned a greater conversation about passenger safety in ride-for-hire services.

“I was just dropped off by a cab driver,” a recent social media post claimed. “He wouldn’t let me leave the cab until I gave him a hug and tried to kiss me immediately after.”

In the days following the post on Facebook, the company involved, Prairie Cabs, reached out to the author. Assistant Manager Navdeep Thundal says their complaint has been taken with the utmost seriousness.

“If there is someone in the wrong, it should be brought out… I read it a lot, where they are like, ‘the owners won’t care’. Of course, we care; we’ve been in operation for over 55 years.”

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Thundal urges anyone who feels they are in danger when being driven to not only contact the driving company involved but to also contact police.

“We want people to tell us; we want things to get out there, bylaw involved, RCMP involved. We want to hear both sides of the story and we want to get to the bottom of it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Grande Prairie RCMP Constable Candace Hrdlicka echoes that any complaints of a criminal nature should be directed to the detachment.

“It needs to be reported so it can be properly investigated.”

Peace Officers and licence inspectors with the City of Grande Prairie also do vehicle safety inspections twice a year to ensure minimum standards are met.

Since the allegations were made on social media, a group has come up with a concept they are hoping will make a tangible difference when it comes to customer safety.

Calorado Hudkins says he and Fisnik Veliu with Turbo Delivery have set up a call forwarding number. The goal is to have it send customers to the companies with what they consider the highest rated service for designated drivers, taxis, and driving services.

“We noticed a rise in concerns about safe reliable services recently and decided if we had one number where people can call to maybe have a little more security in knowing they are being forwarded to the best overall rated service provider,” Hudkins explains.

“This allows for a bit more accountability as we can decide which business to send the calls to based on safety, professionalism, reliability and overall ratings with our following.”

Where the criteria will come from and how the companies will be ranked has not been detailed. Hudkins says a website and more information is expected to be made public shortly. In the meantime, they hope to hear any ideas via their newly launched Facebook page.

*Editor’s note* A previous version of the article incorrectly identified one of the partners in the cab call forwarding service. We regret the error.

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