Putting the brakes on old cabs
Bylaw change could limit taxi age

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 11/97) - Yellowknife City hall could look more like taxi central Monday night.

Cab drivers are expected in full force at the city council meeting, when changes to taxi bylaws are being proposed.

One change to the livery licence bylaw could mean cabs have to be no older than five model years, with a possible two-year extension.

If that happens, operating costs for cab companies could increase as much as 20 per cent, said John Seagrave, administrator with City Cabs, at last week's works and public safety committee meeting.

"These fellows are just trying to make a living," he said. "We have to find some middle ground."

The city, however, has concerns about the condition of some of the cabs and the impression left with visitors to Yellowknife.

Seagrave would like to see council meet with the taxi owners to discuss the proposals before making the changes.

But Doug Lagore, city administrator, said the changes are being made at the request of cab companies that held meetings with himself and Mayor Dave Lovell.

So far, no one Seagrave has talked to said they requested the bylaw changes, he said in a phone interview.

Changing the bylaws would also require cab companies to have annual mechanical inspections performed at licensed automotive businesses by a certified journeyman mechanic.

Currently the bylaw reads that inspections have only to be performed by a licensed journeyman mechanic.

About 15 cab drivers and taxi company representatives attended the mid-afternoon committee meeting to oppose the proposals.

Last year, 17 per cent of the taxis licensed were less than five years old, according to city records.

The vehicle-age regulation would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 1998 and it would be phased in over three years.

Alderman Ruth Spence and Mayor Dave Lovell voted the proposal go to Monday's council meeting with Alderman Bob Brooks opposed.