Taxi Alliance urges riders to “Point and Click” for improved service,
Announces new training program with Centennial College
August 24, 2016 (TORONTO) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today announced two major initiatives designed to assist the industry in its ongoing quest for improvement: a central email address for compliments and complaints, and a driver training program being designed in partnership with Centennial College.
“We are very excited to launch today one central email address serving the entire Toronto taxi industry, which consumers can use to give compliments to great drivers, and report complaints when service failed to meet their expectations,” said Rita Smith, Executive Director of the TTA.
The central email address is TOtaxifeedback@gmail.com, and the TTA has been piloting it over the summer. Every major taxi company in Toronto is part of the campaign.
“Monitoring the mailbox and responding to consumers has been an eye-opening experience,” Smith notes, “because the most important thing we learned was that virtually no one in the City realizes that taxi cabs are numbered specifically for identification purposes. I received multiple contacts from riders who wanted to offer a compliment or a complaint, but did not have the cab number or even the taxi company name.”
For this reason, the TTA is launching a “Point and Click” campaign, requesting that riders who have been refused a ride because the trip was too short or the driver lacked a cash machine – or any other reason – use their cell phone to snap a photo of the cab number on the door and send it to TOtaxifeedback@gmail.com. Those who do not own a camera cell phone are encouraged to simply make note of the cab number and company and send it by email to TOtaxifeedback.
“Ride refusal is one of the biggest complaints; by combining technologies like phone cameras and the email line, we believe we could eliminate this problem within weeks,” Smith says. “All of Toronto’s taxi companies have committed to acting on these complaints promptly. When complainants provide the taxi company and cab number, immediate action can be taken.”
Smith stresses that riders are encouraged to use the line to offer compliments as well: “Last week, we heard from a woman who said a cab driver literally saved her life as she was being assaulted on the sidewalk – a cabbie pulled over, threw open the cab door and helped her escape. She contacted Beck Taxi and she was able to locate the driver to thank him. There are many great stories out there, and we would like to hear them and be able to locate the drivers to thank them.”
The second component of today’s announcement is a major proactive step toward avoiding many of these problems in the first place: effective, focused, relevant training for professional drivers provided by Centennial College.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance is partnering with Centennial College to develop an improved driver training program that will include an English assessment, and lessons in customer service, cultural sensitivity, GTA road knowledge, and defensive driving.
“We’re delighted to be a part of this new service initiative by the Toronto Taxi Alliance,” says Barry O’Brien, Dean of the School of Business at Centennial College. “We will be delivering 18 hours of vital taxi driver training in a quick and intensive format, giving every new driver a wealth of information that will allow them to serve Toronto residents and tourists courteously and professionally from day one.”
Centennial College had been previously engaged by the City of Toronto to deliver its Ambassador Taxi training program. The curriculum and scheduling for the new program is in development, with training expected to begin early this fall. Classes will be offered at Centennial’s School of Transportation at Ashtonbee Campus in Scarborough. Drivers can call 416-289-5000, ext. 7086 for course information.
Toronto’s major taxi companies will require that every cab driver licensed since May 4th, 2016 complete this training. Drivers licensed earlier than May 4th who receive complaints can also be required to take this training.
“We welcome this new training initiative with Centennial College and look forward seeing more of the details in the weeks ahead,” says Philomena Comerford, CEO of Baird, MacGregor Hargrave Insurance. “We expect this program will support professionalism and best practices in the taxi industry.”