FAQs: Public transportation
- Where can a person go with general complaints about public transportation services?
Different kinds of transportation are handled by different agencies. For example, municipalities often regulate the operation of taxicabs, setting safety and operations standards and licensing cabs and drivers. Municipal regulations, such as the Edmonton Taxi Commission's Accessible Taxi Bylaw, may set minimum standards for services for people with mobility disabilities. Municipal governments manage city buses and handi-bus services. Calgary Transit, for example, handles customer complaints for public transit services in Calgary.
- Is air transport covered under the Alberta Human Rights Act?
No. The airline industry is federally regulated, so air transportation is not covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act. All concerns and complaints about human rights involving airlines should be directed to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- Is railway transportation covered by the AHR Act?
No. Interprovincial railways are federally regulated, so railway transportation is not covered by the AHR Act. Even a trip that is completely within Alberta on an interprovincial railway is federally regulated and not covered by the AHR Act. All concerns about human rights involving interprovincial railways should be directed to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- Does a public transportation service have to provide its full range of services to passengers with disabilities?
A transportation service provider must accommodate passengers with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. However, this may mean that passengers with disabilities will sometimes receive reduced services. For example, a taxi operator may not be able to bring a passenger in a wheelchair to the front door of a destination if doing so would compromise safety.
- Does the driver or operator of a public transportation vehicle have to make sure that other passengers or staff make space for a passenger with a disability?
The service provider must accommodate, to the point of undue hardship. For example, a bus driver may have to help a passenger in a wheelchair board the bus and find space, even if it means staying longer than usual at a stop and helping the other passengers make room. For more information on accommodation, see the Alberta Human Rights Commission interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.
- Does a public transportation service have to provide special or extra seating at no charge for passengers who are obese?
If a person's obesity is a physical disability, and if access to the service is unduly limited by a passenger's obesity, the transportation service provider must accommodate to the point of undue hardship. This may mean upgrading to a higher class of seating, or providing an extra seat, without extra charge.
- If a passenger with a disability requires an attendant, does the attendant travel for free?
Unless it would cause the transportation service provider undue hardship, an attendant required by a passenger with a disability must be allowed to travel on the same fare as the passenger.
- Is the use of a service dog protected by the AHR Act?
The use of a service dog is protected by the AHR Act when a person with a mental or physical disability requires the support of a dog to engage in the normal activities of day-to-day life. Transportation providers must accommodate people with disabilities who require the support of a service dog in almost all situations. The Blind Persons' Rights Act also allows guide dogs for individuals who are blind access to any public service.
Revised: February 1, 2010
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