Taxi Driver Awareness Program

NOVEMBER 1996
CONTENTS

COUNCIL OIRECTIVE .................................................................................................. 1

THE TAXI ORIVER'S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ............................................ 2

DESIRABLE TRAITS IN A TAXI DRIVER ....................................................... 3

SEMINAR OBJECTIVES ..;,.........................................................................................4

DEFINITION OF A DISABLED PERSON ......................................................................4

COMMON MYTHS REGARDlNG A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY ............................. 5

COMMON DON'TS WHEN DEALING WITH PERSONS WITH A DISABIUTY.............. 7

SPECIAL. NEEDS PERSONS ........................................................................................ 9

DON'TS

TYPES OF DISABILITIES ............................................................................13

WHEELCHAIR ETIQUETTE ..................................................................14

STORING SUPPORTIVE DEVICES ..............................................................................16

COMMON PROBLEMS IN DEAUNG WITH DIFFERENTLY ABLED PERSONS ......... 18

TAXICAB DRIVERS AS HELPERS .............................................................................. 19

POSITIONING THE VEHICLE .............................................................. 20

ASSISTlNG THE CUSTOMER ..................................................................................... 21

TIPS FOR DRIVERS ............................................................................22

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES ................................................................23

WHAT DOES "COURTESY" MEAN? ........................................................................... 24

RESULTS OF DISPATCHER'S AND OWNER'S MEETING ......................................... 25

TAXI DRIVER TEN COMMANDMENTS...................................................26

"ME" ... THE TAXI DRIVER......................................................................27

NOTES AND CREDITS.............................................................................28


-1-

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE

In the matter of an appeal of January 12, 1994, the Taxi Appeal Committee made the following recommendation:

"And further the Committee recommends to Council that a report be prepared by staff on requiring a minimum level of training regarding these matters as part of obtaining or renewing a taxicab driver's licence in the Town of Oakville, commencing January 1, 1995."

By-Law 1991-181 is amended by deleting subsection 33(5) and replacing it with the following:

By-Law 1991-181 is further amended by adding the following subsection to section 5:

By-Law 1991-181 is further amended by adding the following subsection to section 16:


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THE TAXI DRIVER'S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The use of taxicabs by disabled persons has increased because taxis have become an available and affordable option. Disabled persons therefore constitute an important market in the taxi industry. The importance of caring for persons with disabilities needs to be recognized and an awareness of those needs must be raised.

ln order to provide excellent service, the driver MUST BE WILLING to provide that service, and must be in good mental and physical health.

Taxi drivers have to deal with a variety of situations, some of which lead to conflict. To effectively deal with these situations, a driver needs to display good judgment, a lot of patience, and understanding. Physical strength is also required, therefore the driver needs to keep physically fit.

Drivers MUST keep in mind that their passenger's comfort depends directly on their driving skills, the cleanliness of the taxi, and the quality of air in the taxi. If the driver smokes, the vehicle should be aired out several times daily.

Drivers should ALWAYS keep in mind that they are providing a service. One cannot pick and choose one's customers. Drivers are expected to treat each customer with compassion and patience, and should develop the qualities and skills required to provide that service most effectively.

Good drivers stand out because of their consideration for the customer, their appearance, and their responsible driving skills. These are the drivers the Licensing Section staff do not usually hear about. Staff do hear about the drivers who do not display those qualities desirab1e in a driver.


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DESIRABLE TRAITS IN A TAXI DRIVER

LIKEABLE AND CO-OPERATIVE
NEAT IN APPEARANCE, PERSONAL CLEANLINESS, CLEAN CLOTHING
POISE
ENTHUSIASM and VITALITY
ALERTNESS
TACT and VERBAL FLUENCY
CURIOSITY and IMAGINATION
QUICK, ACCURATE JUDGMENT
GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS


SOMETHING TO CONSIDER

WHEN NOTHING CAN GO WRONG, IT WILL.

NOTHING IS EVER AS EASY AS IT SEEMS.

EVERYTHING COSTS MORE THAN YOU HAVE AND TAKES LONGER

IF YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYBODY SOMEBODY WON'T LIKE IT.

IT'S EASIER TO GET INTO A THING THAN OUT OF IT.

WHATEVER YOU REALLY WANT TO DO, YOU'LL HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE FIRST.


-4-

SEMINAR OBJECTIVES

This seminar is designed to give taxicab drivers a practical understanding of the skills required to adequately relate and respond to the mobility needs of persons with disabilities and;

  1. TO CREATE AN AWARENESS OF THE VARIOUS SPECIAL NEEDS OF PERSONS WHO HAVE A DISABILITY.

  2. TO PROVIDE FOR IMPROVED COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE DRIVER AND THE CUSTOMER.

  3. TO HELP ENSURE THAT THE CUSTOMER IS TREATED IN THE SAME WAY AS ANY OTHER CUSTOMER; WITH DIGNITY. RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING-

  4. TO DISPEL ANY FEARS ABOUT TRANSPORTING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.

  5. TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF HANDLING ASSISTIVE DEVICES.

  6. TO UNDERSTAND THE NECESSITY OF CALLING FOR I-IELP IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.

The mandate of this seminar is to help taxicab drivers provide disabled persons with a more comfortable and non-discriminatory taxicab ride. The renewal of a taxicab driver's licence will depend upon the driver's ability to display awareness and sensitivity toward persons with disabilities.

DEFINITION OF A DISABLED PERSON

DISABLED PERSON rneans "a person who has a mobility impairment affecting an individual's ability to walk, climb stairs and sit or stand, which may be caused by age, injury, disease or by characteristics acquired before birth;" (Section 1. (38), Town of Oakville By-Law 1991-181, as amended).

DISABLED is defined as "any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal." (The Ontario Advisory Council for the Disabled)


-5-

COMMON MYTHS REGARDING A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY

MYTH: PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE SICK

People who have one or more disabilities as a result of a disease may be sick from time to time because of the disease, not the disability. Someone may use a wheelchair because they have lost a leg to cancer but they would not be sick again unless the cancer returned.

Disabilities are not contagious. One may have a disability as a result of an accident before or during birth, or later in life as a result of an injury or disease.

MYTH: PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE FRAGILE

If sorneone moves slowly or awkwardly, or uses a cane or a wheelchair to aid mobility, this may leave the more able bodied person with the impression that the disabled customer is fragile. Do not be afraid to offer assistance to the person with a disability. They will not break.

Elderly persons rnay indeed be frail, but if one assists them in the way one is requested, it lessens the chance of an accident occuring.

MYTH: PEOPLE WITH DlSABILITIES CANNOT DO ANYTHING FOR THEMSELVES

Persons with disabilities may be restricted physically, but this does not make them invalids.

Persons with disabilities have the same range of intelligence as the rest of the population, with the same range of interests, concerns, friends, and families.

Persons with disabilities have personalities like the rest of us; some we may like, and some we may dislike.


-6-

MYTH: ALL PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES HAVE THE SAME NEEDS

People may have the same type of injury or disease but could be affected differently by it. A person who has had a stroke may walk differently, or have the limited use of one hand. One may not require any help from a driver, however another person may require the use of a wheelchair and that person may also be experiencing a speech impediment.

MYTH: WHAT YQU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

A disability is not always obvious or visible. One may be transporting a customer who looks and acts "normal". They may have an injury which prevents them from using their car or taking public transit. For example, they may have a head injury, a heart condition, or experience seizures.

These are but a few of the myths that create attitudinal barriers. The best way to elirninate such barriers is through active learning.


Even if you're on the right track

You'll get run over if you just sit there.


-7-

COMMON DON'TS WHEN DEALING WITH PERSONS
WITH A DISABILITY

  1. Don't do something for an individual when you know that person can and would rather do it for themselves. Help is often given to save time, but that effort may reduce an already low feeling of independence and self-worth.

  2. Don't answer or talk for individuals or talk "down" to them as if they were children. When individuals are unable to do many things, the assurnption is often made that they are mentally challenged. This is not so.

  3. Don't touch a person, or his or her aids, without first telling them what is about to happen, and without identifying oneself. You have already assessed the situation and know what must be done, and generally it is assumed that the customer is also aware of what will happen next. DO NOT ASSUME that the customer will know what happens next. Take the time to indicate the process.

  4. Don't do something without first asking or indicating. This can be frightening to a person with a disability. Each disability is different and each person is unique. Until you know what is best or how best it is done, remember to ask the person.

  5. Don't assume that the person's most interesting characteristic is his or her disability. Disabilities are often the most obvious characteristic of a person and often become the sole topic of conversation without much consideration for other, more normal features the person may have.

  6. Don't assume the disabled person is an unproductive member of our society. Due to physical limitations, it is often felt that disabled persons cannot hold meaningful positions at work or in the community when in fact, rnany persons with disabilities live extremely productive lives.

  7. Don't assurne that disabled persons have different wants and needs than non-disabled persons. A physical impairrnent does not mean that there is also an emotional impairment.

  8. Don't ask the companion of a disabled person for information. Rather, ask the customer. It is common to overlook the person with a disability and ask questions of others. This practice may reinforce feelings of low self-esteem, or may only serve to anger the individual.

    9. Don't gossip about a disabled person. As a driver, you will learn a lot of personal inforrnation about this person, and you will hear other customers exchanging gossip. It is important to resist the temptation to participate or pass along inforrnation.

  9. Don't demonstrate to people around you how "good" you are at providing competent service to persons with disabilities. No person needs or wants that type of arrogance on display.

The driver may create problems for persons with disabilities. The barriers caused by the driver's actions and attitudes may have a lasting effect on the relationship with the customer. One should be aware of the existence of such tendencies and take the necessary precautions to eliminate such attitudes which can sometimes lead to hostility.

If a passenger is unable to respond to the driver, indicate clearly what you are going to do and what you expect the customer to do. If an offer of assistance is declined, stay close by and be ready to assist if circumstances warrant.


-9-

SPECIAL NEEDS PERSONS

In our society today, we have many special needs persons, many of whom require assistance of some form or another by other persons. particularly those involved in the service industry. You are part of that industry, and will play a very important role in the assistance required by persons with special needs.

In this regard, this will be the time when your goodwill and patience, humanity, personal skills and understanding will be tested and applied in providing first-class service to our special needs customer.

There is nothing more personally rewarding than to be able to assist those not as fortunate as ourselves, in order that they may enjoy quality of life.

Types of Disabilities

Note: Any of these may be present in varying degrees, and some require much more assistance than others.


-10-

DO'S AND DON'TS

Hard af Hearing, Deafened or Deaf


-13-

TYPES OF DISABILITIES

When providing transportation for persons with disabilities, it is vital that the driver be aware of limitations passengers may have. Disability awareness will enable the driver to respond more appropriately to the needs of the passenger.

REMEMBER: The same type of injury or disease can affect each passenger differently. The best way to know what kind of assistance to offer is simply to ask:

"HOW MAY I HELP YOU?".

DISABILITY				COMMON				REMINDERS
           				EFFECTS

                                                                PATIENCE, AND....

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS              Weakness, loss of               General assistance as required
				co-ordination, difficulty	as movement is difficult and
				walking				the passenger's condition may
                                                                change
				
				
CEREBRAL PALSY                  Speech impediment,              General assistance as required
                                jerking movements               especially when speech is
                                                                impaired

ARTHRITIS			Swollen joints. jerking		General assistance as required
				movements


RESPIRATORY			Shortness of breath,		General assistance as
ILLNESSES (Chronic              tightness in the chest          movement is slow
Bronchitis, Emphysema,
Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis)


STROKE                          Weakness and/or                 General assistance as required
				paralysis of limbs, 
				speech impediment


MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY              Lack of strength                General assistance as required


POLIO                           Paralysis                       General assistance as required


SPINAL CORD INJURIES            Loss of sensation, upper        General assistance as required.
				and lower body


PARKINSON'S                     Trembling, stiff                Patience is required as
SYNDROME                        movement                        movement is slow


ALZHEIMER'S			Memory loss, impaired		General assistance as required
				judgment


FRACTURES			Temporary loss af use or	General assistance as required
				weakness, pain


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-16-

STOR1NG SUPPORTIVE DEVICES

TIPS

  • Offer help when it looks as though it might be needed, but do not insist on it if the customer refuses your help. Walk to one side of the customer and be ready to assist if needed. Don't hover. Assume the person is capable.

  • Offer help by asking "May I help you?". If the answer is yes, then ask, "How can I help you?". Each customer knows best what help he or she needs and how it should be given. They are the one in control of the help, not you. Not to offer assistance is a violation of the Taxi By-Law.

  • Avoid rushing. A customer may prefer to be independent even though it could take more time getting to and from the vehicle. Don't autornatically grab a customer's arm to help him or her walk. This might upset his or her balance and cause a fall. You rnight offer your arm for support. Be gentle.


    -17-

  • When picking up a customer who is in a wheelchair, don't grab the wheelchair and start pushing. The customer might prefer to wheel himself to or from the vehicle.

  • Ask the customer if what you are doing is okay before you do it. For example, if you need to tip the wheelchair to go up a ramp, ask the customer first. Nobody appreciates sudden unexpected movements. Certain things may seem routine for you, but the customer may have a preferred way of doing something. Each customer is different.

  • If your customer falls, DON'T PANIC. He may be perfectly capable of getting up on his own, or he will be able to tell you how to help.

    When communicating wifh your customer: A Summary

  • Treat your customer as you would like to be treated yourself - with respect. Don't talk down to him or her as if he or she were a child.

  • Always speak directly to your customer, even if he or she is blind or deaf, or is accompanied by an able-bodied person. Speak clearly, in a normal tone of voice. Blind people are not deaf. Shouting at a deaf person does not improve his ability to hear.

  • If you don't understand what is said to you, say so, and ask the customer to repeat the information.

  • If speaking doesn't work, try writing down the message, or use gestures, etc. If that doesn't work, call your dispatcher to verify the destination.

  • Don't gossip with your customers. You may get to know some of them very well, and may hear some personal information. Don't repeat what you hear.


    -18-

    COMMON PROBLEMS IN DEALING WITH
    DIFFERENTLY ABLED PERSONS

    It is reasonable to assume that disabled persons have preconceived ideas about able persons, just as we have about differently abled persons.

    Persons with disabilities are no different from anyone else in that their opinions, to a great extent, are shaped by past experience and their present situations. The way they have been treated by other diivers will influence their opinions about you. Keep this in mind if any of your customers display any of the following behaviours:

    1. Being obnoxious and difficult to please. The individual may react to their disability by developing a "chip on their shoulder" or the idea that society owes them something. These people may be more difficult to please, but failing to maintain a pleasant attitude will only add fuel to the fire.

    2. Using a disability to gain sympathy: Some customers may expect "special treatrnent" because of their disability. Providing it may cause difficulty for you and future drivers. While it is always desirable to maintain a high level of competence when transporting persons with disabilities, DO NOT do anything which will make you uncomfortable by giving into personal demands. On occasion the customer may need to touch you out of necessity (for example a visually-impaired customer). Other times, physical contact is not necessary. If possible, DO NOT allow the customer to touch you.

    3. Assuming a driver knows everything: Some persons with disabilities assume that since you are the driver, you are familiar with their situation. They may not tell you they need sornething done in a particular way. The driver in this case is expected to know everything, when in fact each individual has special needs different from other people.

    4. Ridiculing a driver's ignorance but not enlightening the driver: There may be a tendency to make fun of your knowledge, or lack of knowledge if you make a mistake. Be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming angry because you, the driver, are being teased.

    5. Placing blame on a driver when the fault lies with tbe disabled customer: Sometimes you will be blamed for something you did not do. Entering into an argument will make a complaint to Halton Taxi or the Licensing Section even rnore justifiable.


    -19-

    TAXICAB DRIVERS AS HELPERS

    Unlike "regular" fares, the disabled person requires special consideration prior to helping him or her into the cab. Where the vehicle is parked before pick-up or drop off, how customers are assisted into and out of the vehicle, and how the person is secured in the vehicle all become important issues in passenger security and safety. While a regular fare can usually overcome poor planning or rnistakes of the driver, the person with a disability is often faced with another obstacle. It is important for the driver to anticipate that special consideration will be required.

    TIPS


    -20-

    POSITIONING THE VEHICLE

    CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING POINTS WHEN POSITIONING THE VEHICLE:


    -21-

    ASSISTING THE CUSTOMER

    Proper touching or handling of any person is a delicate matter and often not of choice, but of necessity. Many persons with disabilities will experience a great deal of pain and discomfort if their limbs are handled in a rough manner. Always remember to offer assistance and, when assisting, do so in a manner which is gentle and reassuring. Offer your arm, do not take theirs.

    Not all passengers will be confined to a wheelchair. Some will be able to walk by themselves, others may get around using supportive devices. If one has a customer who seems to have difficulty walking and is unfamiliar to the driver, ask what assistance is required before proceeding to help. Touching a person can cause balance problems and could lead to a fall. If the person refuses assistance, stay close behind and be prepared to help...just in case.


    -22-

    TIPS FOR DRIVERS

    KEYPOINTS TO REMEMBER:


    -23-

    EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

    The following are some suggested steps to take in various emergency situations, These suggestions rnay be replaced by your brokerage rules, which must be followed according to brokerage policy.

    Vehicle Breakdown:


    -24-

    WHAT DOES "COURTESY" MEAN?

    JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER

    TO SHOW COURTESY MEANS TO BE CIVIL AND POLITE TO YOUR PASSENGERS. TAXICAB DRIVERS PERFORM A PUBLIC SERVICE AND ARE REQUIRED TO BE COURTEOUS UNDER THE BY-LAW THAT GOVERNS THE DUTIES OF TAXICAB DRIVERS.

    Courtesy means the following:

    REMEMBER:

    Your passengers appreciate good service and good manners and will usually return to a place where they have had positive experience. Likewise, your customers will remember if the service you provided was less than satisfactory, and will try to avoid retuming to your company.


    -25-

    Office (905) 844-0441 Fax: (905) 844-0885
    Halton Taxi Services Limited, 1055 North Service Road East, Oakville, Ontario, L6L 1A6

    RESULTS OF DISPATCHER'S AND OWNER'S MEETING

    March 3, 1995

    Thanks to all who took the time and the effort to attend the Dispatcher's and Owner's meettings. The following were recommendetions made at both meettings end will go into effect April 1, 1995.

    The two regulations the taxi industry follows are the "Town of Oakville's Taxi By-Laws" and the "Halton Taxi Driver's Guide". These guides will never cover every situation but, by using common sense and reviewing previous precedence, it represents company policy.

    AT ALL TIMES WE NUST REMEMBER THAT WHAT WE SELL IS SERVICE!

    That means, if a customer needs special help we will do it if possible.

    EXAMPLE: If the customer has a walker, we will get out of the car and put it in the trunk. We will not expect the passenger to struggle with it in the back seat.

    EXAMPLE: If the customer is on crutches, we wil1 get out end open the door, assist them in and out of the vehicle as necessary, and make sure they do not slip. '

    EXAMPLE: If a senior seems a little slow or frail, we will get out and ask if they need assistance.

    EXAMPLE: If the customer is carrying parcels, we will get out of the car and offer our assistance.

    Our slogan is "OUR DRIVER'S MAKE THE DIFFERENCE".

    Perhaps one reason for lack of business is that our drivers are making the wrong difference!


    -26-

    TAXI DRIVER TEN COMMANDMENTS

    1. Thou shalt always do thy best to satisfy and service the customer.

    2. Thou shalt treat with fairness all other taxi drivers.

    3. Thou shalt always look after one another; for thy turn will come.

    4. Thou shalt treat all customers (inside & out) with respect and dignity.

    5. Thou shalt treat all other drivers with respect and courtesy; and thou shouldst receive the same.

    6. Thou shalt be patient, tolerant and of assistance, and coach "newbie's" as once in past you walked in the newbie's shoes.

    7. Thou shalt look after one another, no matter who or company, to preserve safety and eamings for all.

    8. Thou shalt do thy best to improve the image and stature of all taxi drivers and the industry from whereath you obtain thy living.

    9. Thou shalt be the eyes and ears of your village, as their protector 24 hours a day, as thou hast the ability to make things happen and act as their guardian angel.

    10. Thou shalt treat all as you would be treated, as the great wheel will cometh around sooner or later.

    Gord Barton
    September 1996


    " ME " ...THE TAXI DRIVER

    AND.......I AM PROUD TO DRIVE A TAXI !

    SO, .......
    I WILL DO MY BEST,
    LOOK MY BEST,
    PROJECT A CONFIDENT IMAGE,
    KEEP MY TAXI CLEAN AND IN GOOD REPAIR

    - AND -

    I WILL PROVIDE THE BEST SERVICE I CAN TO MY CUSTOMERS
    BY BEING EFFICIENT , FRIENDLY, AND COURTEOUS!

    Composed and Contributed by:

    Gordon M. Barton, Taxicab Instructor
    Excel Resources & Training
    Cedar Lake Road, Box 890,
    RR1, Anola,Mb. Ca R0E 0A0
    204.866.2668 (voice)
    204.866.3657 (fax)
    E-mail: barton@mts.net



    PREPARED BY
    TOWN OF OAKVILLE, LICENSING SECTION
    WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO:

    MS. DOREEN BLAKE, HALTON TAXI SERVlCES
    TOWN OF OAKVILLE TRANSIT
    ONTARIO URBAN TRANSIT ASSOCIATION (O.U.T.A.)
    THE REHABILITATION CENTRE, OTTAWA, ONTARIO
    GORD BARTON, EXCEL RESOURCES AND TRAINING


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