Controversial Taxi Bylaw Sent To City Manager For Revision

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 15:40 PM

It's been nearly six months since the controversial taxi bylaw in Saint John went into effect requiring meters in cabs and now it's heading into the hands of the city manager for revision after recommendations from the taxi advisory committee to clarify the bylaw.

"There are other areas in the bylaw as is written that have been causing confusion for both the industry and the general public," says committee chair Ralph Holyoke. "Some of these were oversights in the original wording of the bylaw and some have been a result of misinterpretation and bending of the intent of the bylaw."

Holyoke said concerns have been raised about drivers not adhering to the new bylaw. He told Saint John council call volume is down for most of the cab companies and believes the taxi industry has created some chaos for themselves by charging irregular rates.

"There were a few things that were assumed would happen and haven't, I don't think we anticipated quite so much bending and jumping and twisting of the bylaw's wording by the taxi industry to avoid basically closing the cash register in the car for some of them," says Holyoke.

One of the recommendations put forward by the taxi advisory committee is that all taxis must show the driver's name and a recent photo ID in an easy-to-see large print display visible from the back seat of the vehicle and another is that all taxis have to be equipped with a roof light that is designed to go out only when the meter is turned on. This was implied in the wording of the bylaw Holyoke says, but not explicitly stated.

Holyoke said the taxi industry is still "consumed with internal discord, price wars and a lack of cooperation with the taxi advisory committee" and that there's been basically no input from the industry to their committee.

The taxi bylaw came into effect on May 31 of this year.