Halifax passes sweeping changes to taxi industry, adds 600 licences
People who have long complained about how difficult it is to get a taxi in some parts of Halifax may be seeing some relief.
Seven months after a consultant's report recommended sweeping changes to the taxi industry, including approving hundreds of new licences, Halifax Regional Council gave it the green light.
Six hundred more taxi owner licences are being offered up, wiping out a waitlist of more than 400.
Zones are also being eliminated, so cabbies are free to go where the fares are.
Deputy mayor Tony Mancini says the changes are long overdue, especially in the bar district, where cabs are scarce.
"Many stories of people who wanted to take a cab, couldn't get a cab, so they made the poor decision to get behind the wheel of a car, and it ended in a death," Mancini said.
The taxi association insists adding hundreds of new licences could have the opposite effect, because drivers who have been renting won't have to work as many hours to pay the bills.
"It's not going to reduce wait-times," said Dave Buffett of the Halifax Taxi Drivers Association. "You've got about 300 guys who can work a lot less, and still have the same disposable income."
In a separate motion, council hiked transit fares by 25 cents across the board, although a trip to the airport will now cost a $1.25 more.
The latter is less important to Holly Eggleston, who'll be watching the impact of the taxi changes closely.
"Thank goodness this change is going to happen because we need it," she said.
The implementation date for all of this is just 10 days from now, although the cab companies will have six months to implement other changes, like GPS and debit and credit machines.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.