Calgary taxis may be forced to work nights, holidays

The city's taxi regulator wants to make it mandatory that all cabs are on the road during peak hours like weekend nights and holidays.

Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee to discuss proposed changes Friday

Hailing a cab on a busy Saturday night in Calgary could soon get easier. 2:05

Hailing a cab on a busy Saturday night in Calgary could soon get easier.

Chief livery officer Marc Halat wants the 1,526 licensed cabs in the city to be in service and ready for dispatch on Fridays and Saturdays until 4 a.m., at night during the Stampede and on major bar-friendly holidays like Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

Only 115 cabs are currently mandated to provide night service as part of their contract.

Halat says the changes would be a condition of a taxi licence. 

"We want to hear what drivers have to say, what brokers have to say, but I'm pretty confident that Calgarians would like to see something like that get pushed forward," he said.

Halat also wants to make it mandatory for all cabs to be available for dispatch during severe weather. 

"I've witnessed the horror stories and we've got to correct that," he said. "People should not have to be stuck waiting for transportation with their children at 11 o'clock at night uncertain of whether or not they're going to get a taxi."

The city's Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee will discuss the proposed changes Friday. 

Halat doesn't need council's approval to make the changes under city bylaws. He says he wants to see the licence conditions in place before Stampede.

But some say the rules don't seem fair.

"Now we are changing businesses hours, and [saying] you must be there a specific time," said Coun. Shane Keating.

Cab driver Nabil Akl agrees.

"You can't go to a restaurant and tell them you have to open up until three or four in the morning, same thing with cab drivers," he said.

Akl used to work nights, but not anymore.

"There's violence. There's abuse for drivers. There's people throwing up.... A lot of drivers refuse to work nights because they care about their safety," he said.

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