Puking passengers should pay fines: St. John's cabbies

A group of cab drivers in St. John's is hoping city council will start enforcing ticketing to inebriated passengers who wind up getting sick all over their taxis.
A group of taxi drivers in St. John's is hoping the city will follow in the steps of Calgary and start fining passengers who vomit in cabs. (CBC)

A group of cab drivers in St. John's is hoping city council will start enforcing ticketing to inebriated passengers who wind up getting sick all over their taxis.

While most passengers of the city's cabs are sober on the average weekday, nights and weekends are a different story, according to Co-Op Taxi General Manager Doug McCarthy.

He said it's happened before, and will happen again; someone who had too much to drink can't hold the contents of their stomach down and lose their lunch in a cab.
Doug McCarthy, general manager of Co-Op Taxi, says the wheels have been set in motion to start fining passengers who vomit in taxis in St. John's. (CBC)

McCarthy said in most cases, drivers get a bit of warning before one of their passengers tosses the contents of their stomach.

"Just mention the word sick, and you'd be surprised how fast the brakes can come on to a car," he said.

However, he added this best-case scenario isn't always possible.

"There's been instances where all of a sudden you don't have the opportunity to stop. It's just all over the back seat, all over the back floor. In some cases all over the driver," said McCarthy.

"In essence, you have just destroyed that man's ability to make a living for that night."

McCarthy said a small mess may take several hours to clean up, but a bigger mess may force a driver to send the taxi to a professional cleaner, possibly taking away a driver's means of income for several days.

Several cities in Canada have already implemented measures to fine passengers who hurl in a cab; in Calgary, a passenger who throws up in a taxi is fined $100.

McCarthy said the wheels have been set in motion to get the St. John's council to look at starting a similar fine.

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