Taxi regulations on hold
Council votes bylaw changes back for more work

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

[ Age limit unreasonable ]

NNSL (Apr 16/97) - City council put the brakes on proposed bylaw changes that could have squeezed taxi companies off the road.

Councillors voted 4-0 in favor of sending the bylaw amendments back to committee and administration under the condition of a meeting with representatives from the city's three operating cab companies.

"I'm pleased," said a relieved John Seagrave, administrator with City Cabs. "But I'm disappointed they didn't choose to talk to us the first time around. I'm glad they'll sit down with us now."

At council on Monday, representatives from the cab companies each expressed their opposition to the proposed bylaw changes.

Those amendments included establishing a six-month residency requirement for new drivers and establishing a five-year age limit on vehicles used as taxis with the possibility of a two-year extension.

"The proposed livery licence has major flaws and problems," said John Dalton, owner of Yk Cabs. "If approved it will have serious repercussions and will put a large amount of people out of work.

"How many of you can afford a new car every five years? Taxi drivers certainly cannot."

Seagrave said the age restriction would have increased operating costs by at least 20 per cent.

At the meeting, Alderman Trevor Kasteel wondered when city officials and taxi company representatives last met to discuss the issues that prompted the bylaw changes.

"I would guess 18 months ago," said Mayor Dave Lovell.

Earlier in the meeting Lovell said he and administrator Doug Lagore met privately with representatives from two cab companies. He said no minutes from the meeting are available.

The taxi company representatives all said they would be willing to work with administration and council members to fine-tune the bylaw changes.

Other proposed changes included: clarifying the annual inspection procedure for taxi licence renewal and clarifying the 10-taxi minimum requirement before a taxi brokerage licence is issued.

About 15 taxi drivers attended Monday's meeting.

Aldermen Jo MacQuarrie, Ruth Spence, Vi Beck and Dick Peplow were absent.