Free taxi rides in Vancouver via Twitter "calls" are now a thing

Dec 19 2017, 8:46 pm

With the ongoing strife between Uber and local taxi companies, one man has taken it upon himself to provide Vancouverites with free taxi rides. 

Known simply as @YesFreeTaxi on Twitter, the campaign to raise awareness of the current state of ride-share transportation in the city started in the summer.

Since then, they have upped their game into becoming a full-time service. All you have to do is request a ride by tweeting at @YesFreeTaxi.

“I must add that we’re not attempting to provide an Uber or taxi quality of service, and we won’t be able to respond to all the ride requests,” Kyle MacDonald, the operator of Free Taxi, told Vancity Buzz. “But we will serve up hundreds of free rides over the coming weeks and do our best to respond to as many requests as possible.”

The service is being operated more of an education campaign than a ride-share provider. Free Taxi also wants to be clear that they are not a business in any shape or form: drivers do not accept any money from riders.

The idea to restart Free Taxi as a full-time service began after operators were inspired b SFU student Benn Proctor’s thesis on taxi reform.

However, the campaign’s aim is not solely about tackling the divisive nature of the Uber vs. taxi debate. The campaign also aims to raise awareness that emerging ride-share technologies, such as those used by Uber. are an important public transit innovation and will not go away lightly.

“The current media dynamic of Taxis vs. Uber is actually very short sighted. We’re much more interested in discussing ‘how’ are we going to integrate Uber into the public transit industry and ‘who else’ can provide services to Vancouverites,” says MacDonald.

“There are countless other innovative companies in the emerging rideshare industry. Cities like San Francisco are having a much more nuanced discussion about these topics, even launching things like Shuddle, which is a ride-share service for children. The most important public transit innovation in the last 80 years is the smartphone, and people are only waking up to it’s massive potential to facilitate safe and low cost options to get around the city.”

Moving forward, the group wants to education people on the full potential of the technology and help move legislation that will make these emerging ride-share industries legal in B.C.

“We’ve done pretty well with Zipcar and Car2Go, but we can go much, much further,” added MacDonald.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Free Taxi driver should contact the group via Twitter @YesFreeTaxi with #FreeTaxi.


Feature Image: Taxi via shutterstock

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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