A taxi cab rooftop sign in Whitehorse on Feb. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

A taxi cab rooftop sign in Whitehorse on Feb. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Online survey investigates taxi safety

Two women’s advocacy groups have launched an online survey collecting Yukoners’ negative taxi experiences.

The survey asks for respondents to anonymously itemize the incidents they’ve experienced — a checklist suggests harrassment, uncomfortable comments, propositions and out-of-the-way routes — and whether they are aware of available reporting mechanisms.

“Our goal is to create a platform where people can share their experiences, and then try and do something with that information,” said Jonna Reaume, coordinator at the Yukon Women’s Coalition.

The coalition started the survey in partnership with the Yukon Status of Women Council after social media posts describing unsafe taxi experiences circulated widely late last month.

The survey garnered more than 80 responses in its first four days, Reaume said.

“That’s a pretty overwhelming response in such a short amount of time … I think a lot of people want to speak up and create change to make taxis safer in Whitehorse,” she said.

The anonymity of respondents will be protected. After the survey closes, the data will be shared with the city’s bylaw services and the RCMP.

Reaume noted that taxi safety has been on the radar of women’s groups for several years, and earlier advocacy led to major shifts in the city’s vehicle-for-hire bylaw. It also led to sexualized assault awareness and prevention training for taxi drivers on a voluntary basis.

“We’d like to continue doing that, and I think there might be some other ideas … to change the taxi industry in Whitehorse to make it safer. Not just for women, but hopefully safer for everybody.”

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

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