News

Guardian Transit serves clients with mobility issues

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

A taxi service has arrived in Norfolk specializing in the transportation needs of individuals with mobility issues. Guardian Transit is based in Waterford and is owned by Wayne Columbus. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

A taxi service has arrived in Norfolk specializing in the transportation needs of individuals with mobility issues. Guardian Transit is based in Waterford and is owned by Wayne Columbus. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

SIMCOE  - 

A taxi service catering to individuals with mobility issues has finally arrived in Norfolk.

This week, Norfolk council approved a taxi licence for Guardian Transit of Waterford.

Owner Wayne Columbus has spent $22,000 equipping a Dodge Grand Caravan to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Once he receives his permit, Columbus will be available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the work week.

Columbus has worked for the past several years for Paris Taxi.

While in Paris, Columbus was the fleet’s specialist in handicapped transportation. He is a certified provider of services in this area.

“I love doing this,” Columbus said Wednesday. “I know this area is really lacking in accessible transport. My business is in Norfolk and that is the market I will serve. The business will come and it will get stronger.”

A report to Norfolk council Tuesday said there are seven taxi companies with 33 vehicles serving the county. Until now, none has offered service to people with mobility issues.

Norfolk Mayor Charlie Luke was pleased to see Columbus’s application, saying it was long overdue.

Some on council expressed concern that Guardian Transit might flood the market with taxis once Columbus receives his permit. This is a problem for municipalities because everyone tends to go out of business in markets where there are too many taxis.

Columbus says he’s going to stick with what he knows best. If he has to put another vehicle on the road, Columbus said it will be another van retrofitted for the handicapped.

“It’s a growth industry – definitely,” he said, citing the aging of the population among other factors.

Guardian Transit’s slogan is “Ride With An Angel.” Columbus will also collect regular fares as circumstances allow. Guardian Transit is an approved provider for Operation Lift, a charitable non-profit that helps pay the transportation costs of people with disabilities and those of limited financial means.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com