Taxi bylaw back to the drawing board
Cab company owner says log books an invasion of privacy

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 26/97) - Protests from a cab company owner prompted council to take a second look at the controversial new taxi bylaw Monday night.

"I don't think you as councillors would like to see a record of a trip at 2 a.m. from the Gold Range to your house, or at 3 a.m. from your house to another address," said Yk Cabs owner John Dalton .

The former alderman was illustrating his point that the keeping of log books, required under the new livery bylaw, is an invasion of privacy.

"It's not our job, as the taxi industry, to be the recorders of public movement," said Dalton.

The bylaw, approved in June by the previous council, requires drivers to log times and addresses for each of their fares. Under the old bylaw, said Dalton, they noted only the times they started and finished shifts.

Dalton also said vehicle age limits need to be revised or dropped. Under the bylaw, no taxis can be more than nine years old. Dalton said the emphasis should be on street worthiness, not age.

"Within our company, that age limit will affect the employment of 21 people," said Dalton.

"Many of you have vehicles over nine years of age and you drive them and feel they're safe and take your friends and families in them."

Just before the bylaw was approved, Sunshine Cabs owner Laura Howden argued unsuccessfully that the age limit be reconsidered.

Howden also said she wanted the bylaw's six-month residency requirement scrapped.

Ald. Blake Lyons, a member of the previous council who supported the new bylaw, said he now has concerns about the six-month residency requirement, but will not change his mind about the logs.

Council voted unanimously that the bylaw go back to committee for review.

This will be the third time the bylaw has been reviewed. When it was first introduced last spring, the bylaw immediately provoked protests from the cab industry.

Under that version of the bylaw, cars could be no more than seven years of age.

The city then decided to hold a meeting to get input from taxi company representatives, and redrafted the bylaw into its current form.