Halifax seeks input on taxi industry via online survey
Halifax is considering ways to change the taxi industry in the city and it wants input from its citizens.
People who use taxis are invited to fill out an online survey - part of a larger study into how taxis operate.
Crissy McDow has been operating her all-female driving service for more than a year now and she’s hoping the city’s survey will provide the push she needs to create change in the industry.
“We want to be legal in the city and I can't do that unless they release some owners' permits for lady drivers,” said McDow, who owns and drives for Lady Drive Her.
In June, McDow presented her case to city council, urging it to grant her a ‘rooflight licence.’ Without it, her service can only operate to and from the airport.
More than 800 drivers are on a waiting list ahead of her, but she argues all-female services should be placed in their own category.
This new online taxi survey is part of the city's response to that.
“I hope to say that they would like to have a choice,” McDow said. “Men and women also call me for a choice to have a female driver and everybody has their own reasons why, so I hope they tick yes in that box.”
The survey is also looking at other issues in the taxi industry as well. Like the need for more accessible taxis, and whether services like Uber and Lyft should be able to operate in Halifax.
“We want to get a feel for how other people are using the service so that council can make an informed decision about future changes moving forward,” said city of Halifax spokesman Nick Ritcey.
Responses will be included in a larger study of how taxis operate in the city.
When it comes to alternative services like Uber or Lyft, rules would need to change to pave the way for the service.
“You need a rooflight in order to operate a taxi service here, which includes Uber,” said Ritcey.
For Halifax regional Coun. Lisa Blackburn, improving the taxi system for people with disabilities is also top of mind.
“I know we’re having a review of Access-A-Bus right now, and you know part of the question might be how can we do this better, and where can taxis fit into that?” Blackburn said.
McDow is hoping responses to the survey will bring the kind of change she wants to see for the industry.
Haligonians have until Oct. 11 to weigh in on the survey, and then after that, the information will be taken and used for that larger study on the taxi industry, which will be done in the coming months.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.