New rules on the way for Charlottetown taxi cabs

The rules include use of debit or credit cards in all cabs to pay for rides, better training for cab drivers and stricter enforcement of the requirement that all cabbies display photo ID.

Bylaw amendment part of effort to make cabs safer

Bylaw amendments to the City of Charlottetown taxi regulation still require another vote by council before they are enacted. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

New rules are on the way for taxi cabs in the city of Charlottetown.

They include use of debit or credit cards in all cabs to pay for rides, better training for cab drivers and stricter enforcement of the requirement that all cabbies display photo ID.

The amendments passed first reading at Charlottetown city council Monday. They are part of an effort to make cabs safer, especially for women.

"Having the taxi driver's licences displayed all in the same place, no matter what cab you get in is pretty big and we're happy to see that," said Zac Murphy, a member of the city's youth retention advisory board.

"It's a great first step."

Taxi companies worked with city and police officials to craft the new rules. Work began after the youth advisory board flagged better taxi service as one way to attract and retain more young people in the city.

But missing from the new bylaw amendments is a solution to complaints from some riders that taxi fares seem to be inconsistent at times. The chair of the city's protective and emergency services committee concedes there's more work to do.

"It's trying to get what's fair for everyone, the users and the taxis," said Coun. Jason Coady, committee chair.

"But it is something that's still being talked about, for sure ... we're still working towards that."

Credit and debit cards to be accepted in all city cabs

Training for cab drivers will be provided by Charlottetown Harbour Authority, according to Coady. Enforcement will be handled by city police. 

"We're also looking at ways the public can monitor and provide feedback" said Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell.

"I think we've engaged the taxi owners at a new level, really putting some emphasis on them to help us enforce these rules ... They're very cooperative and really helped move this conversation along."

The new rules requiring all cabs to accept credit and debit cards may also help clear up concerns about fares.

"It gives people a receipt now, so they know exactly how much they paid for the cab and if there are issues, they can refer back to that," said Murphy.

City officials say they continue to talk to taxi companies about further bylaw amendments.

The amendments presented Monday require a second reading at city council before they are enacted. That's slated for next month's city council meeting.

About the Author

Brian Higgins

Brian Higgins is a CBC videojournalist on Prince Edward Island.