Montreal taxi commission recommends cameras in cabs

Montreal’s committee on taxi safety recommends security cameras be installed in all cabs, following the murder of driver Ziad Bouzid last November.

Recommendations follow 2013 murder of driver Ziad Bouzid

In April, Montreal's Commission sur le Transport et les Travaux Publics began looking at strategies to make taxis safer for both drivers and passengers. (Willy Lowry/CBC)

Montreal City Hall's transport commission is recommending security cameras be installed in all taxis, following the murder of driver Ziad Bouzid last November.

In April, the city’s Transportation and Public Works Commission began looking at strategies to make taxis safer for both drivers and passengers.

Yesterday, the commission released 16 recommendations it hopes will be implemented in the near future.

One recommendation is to install security cameras equipped with black boxes that would be accessible only to police officers for the investigation into a crime.

“We don’t want it used for any other purpose and we want a rock-solid guarantee that they will be used just for that purpose,” said Alex Norris, vice-chairman of the Commission on transportation and public works, and councillor for the Mile End district of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough.

Norris said the commission also recommends installing GPS locators that could track taxis from dispatching centres.

“It doesn’t make sense that a number of cabs don’t have these devices, which aren’t expensive,” Norris told Daybreak's Mike Finnerty on CBC Radio. 

Who pays?

Many Montreal taxi drivers say they aren’t opposed to using technology to improve safety, but they are concerned about who will pay the bill.

“I would agree that putting in a camera would probably make us a lot safer, but I would also say that paying for it from our pockets is definitely not the way to go,” said  Addy Adegeye, who has been a taxi driver for the past 20 years.

Adegeye said he believes that because taxis are a public service, it is the responsibility of the government to improve safety both for drivers and passengers.

“We are having this discussion about cameras so that the government pays for it. We’re not having this discussion so that we have to pay for it,” said Adegeye.

The commission also recommended taxis carry less cash, to discourage robberies.

However, Norris said many cab drivers are reluctant to install machines that involve electronic payments because of the large fees — often seven per cent for each transaction.

“We’d like to raise awareness among cabbies to reducing amount of cash that they carry, but we also mandated the Bureau de Taxi of Montreal to negotiate lowering those transaction fees to make it more affordable to cabbies to have those devices in their vehicles,” said Norris.

Rememebring Ziad Bouzid

On November 20, 2013, 45-year-old Ziad Bouzid was shot in the head while driving his taxi early Wednesday morning in Côte-des-Neiges.

Police arrested 43-year-old Duchaussoy several days later and charged with second-degree murder. 

Almost immediately after Bouzid's death, Diamond Taxi started a fund for his family, raising $77,000.