A new taxi company operating in Rossland is offering service for wheelchair users.
Cedar Taxi Ltd. is bringing the first mobility taxi or WAT (wheelchair accessible taxi) to the Greater Trail area, including Rossland. The taxi was modified by Mahadev Metal Works and Fabrications in Richmond and meets all CSA (Canadian Standards Association) requirements.
“The floor of the rear of the car is lowered and widened, and then there’s four attachment points to attach the wheelchair, and then there’s a seatbelt system as well for the wheelchair person,” explained Ian Thomas, owner of Cedar Taxi.
The vehicle uses an “electric locking front retractor wheelchair securement system” — the QER 4000 by Q’straint — that allows the wheelchair user to remain in their chair at all times.
“So what you do, you flip the switch, you pull the belts with the hooks that hook on the wheelchair all the way out, then you put them on the wheelchair while it’s still out on the flat ground, and then you flip the switch back to where it was and now those belts will not pull out anymore and as you push the wheelchair ahead they retract, so there’s no chance that the wheelchair could ever come backwards,” said Thomas.
He says the advantage of the system is that the wheelchair is already secured, and doesn’t have to be strapped in after being positioned. In this case there are just two backstraps that need to be secured once the wheelchair user is in place.
“They’re just like seatbelts,” said Thomas. “They have self-tensioners, so every time that wheelchair just moves a little bit, it clicks tighter every time.”
Cedar Taxi will pick up in Rossland, Trail and Fruitvale, but can take passengers anywhere in B.C.
In the mobility configuration it can transport four passengers, plus the wheelchair user, and in its non-mobility configuration it can transport six passengers. It can be booked in advance or on demand by contacting 250-521-0511 or cedartaxi.ca.
All three of Cedar Taxi’s drivers — Thomas, Gerry Cameron and Darwin Baerg — are experienced taxi drivers and long-time members of the community, familiar with local roads.