Cabbie refused ride to TV star Jillian Harris for good reason, company says
The taxi driver who refused to take reality TV star Jillian Harris from Port Moody into downtown Vancouver had a valid reason, according to his employer.
Harris, who has appeared on "Love it or List it Vancouver" and "The Bachelorette," spoke out about Bel-Air Taxi on social media this week, accusing one of its drivers of refusing her trip because it was too far.
"Yesterday I got refused a cab," she said on Instagram Wednesday. "I was in the cab and he kicked me out."
Harris, who is pregnant, said the driver offered to give her a ride to a SkyTrain station instead.
She told her followers she wasn't upset about what happened, but decided to share her story after being prodded by crew members on the set where she was working.
And it clearly struck a nerve; Harris said she heard from countless people who have had similar experiences with taxis.
"I can't believe the amount of stories that I'm getting about cabs refusing people, cabs making people walk," she said.
Under B.C.'s Taxi Bill of Rights, drivers are allowed to kick out aggressive or disorderly passengers, but it's illegal to refuse a trip because it's inconveniently long or short.
Cab drivers can even be dinged with a $288 fine for refusing a ride for frivolous reasons.
But they are allowed to decline a trip if they're nearing the end of a shift, which is what happened this week with Harris, according to Bel-Air Taxi.
The company told CTV News that Harris hasn't filed an official complaint, but it decided to investigate anyway after hearing about her experience.
Assistant manager Harry Dhaliwal said the driver who went to pick her up was only scheduled to work for another 40 minutes, at which point he was expected to hand the vehicle off to the next driver.
"He ordered her another taxi, that vehicle arrived approximately 10 minutes later and took her to her destination," Dhaliwal said.
"It wasn't a total refusal. He couldn't make it for just the fact that he had to have the vehicle back."
Bringing a cab back late isn’t fair to the next driver, who ends up waiting around at the station, he added.
Dhaliwal said the incident happened in the mid-afternoon and there didn't appear to be any threat to Harris's safety, so the driver left once the replacement cab was on its way.
The small taxi company said it's sorry for Harris's inconvenience, but insisted drivers are generally keen to take longer trips because they're profitable.
"We don't refuse fares going out of town at all, that's a big part of our business," Dhaliwal said. "We've gone to Seattle, we've gone everywhere."
It's unclear whether the situation was explained to Harris at the time. A spokesperson told CTV News that Harris doesn't have anything to add to her earlier comments.