Cab company on no-show

Alanna Kelly

The family of a Kelowna man who is terminally ill and paraplegic said they were stranded without a cab for hours, but the company says it was all due to miscommunication.

Donna Choboter said she called Kelowna Cabs at 11 a.m. June 23 to arrange a taxi to pick up and return her husband, Brian, to Cottonwoods Care Centre.

Kelowna Cabs says they conducted an internal investigation into what they are calling an unfortunate situation.

Melissa Toews, operation manager, said they reviewed the call recordings between Choboter and the company, which are under investigation with governing agencies.

“She told the dispatcher who booked the first trip, calling in at 11:11 a.m. for a ... pick up, that she would just call in when he was ready to go – sometime between 8:30 and 9 p.m.”

According to Toews, Choboter called at 8:01 p.m. for a taxi, but “did not state it was (for) a wheelchair van.”

At 8:54 p.m., the company confirms Choboter called back asking for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. At this time, no taxi had arrived.

“She spoke to the same call taker, and she did tell him she had ordered a wheelchair van,” said Toews.

At 9:20 p.m., no cab had arrived, as confirmed by the company. She called back again at 9:51 p.m., frustrated.

“Mrs. Choboter calls ... very upset and yelling at the call taker, who is not aware of what is happening, we have multiple call takers for Friday and Saturday nights, and the call taker transfers the call to dispatch and again (she) is very upset and is yelling and over speaking the dispatcher and demands a free ride,” says Toews.

The company then confirms they told Choboter no vehicle was coming.

“Dispatch tells her that he will see what is going on. He then tells her that there are no available vans in the area and he could not accurately quote a time frame for a van to become free,” said Toews.

The family ended up calling an ambulance. Brian didn’t return back to the care facility until midnight.

“We are truly sorry for the inconvenience that she and her husband suffered that night, and our dispatch staff did try their best to get Mr. Choboter a taxi,” said Toews. “Unfortunately, there were a few miscommunications and the appropriate vehicle was not readily available by the time the confusion had settled.”

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