Taxi association pans changes to Halifax cab regulations
'I don't think it's appropriate for the city to issue so many licences,' says Darshan Virk
New taxi rules aimed at making the wait for a cab ride in Halifax shorter come into effect on Saturday, but some drivers are not looking forward to the changes.
The biggest change is that 600 more taxi licences will be issued, bringing the total number of licences in the municipality up to 1,600.
"A lot of people will be working three or four more hours. There's only 24 hours in a day. And there's a very high rate of heart attacks," said Darshan Virk, president of the United Cab Drivers Association.
"People are stressed out, some of them sleep in their cars. I don't think it's appropriate for the city to issue so many licences."
Other changes include that drivers must take cultural sensitivity training and winter driving lessons, and must have GPS and debit machines installed in their vehicles within six months.
Taxi zones eliminated
As well, the three existing taxi zones for Halifax, Dartmouth and the county will be eliminated, meaning drivers will no longer be confined to operating in certain zones.
Halifax regional council voted 15-3 on Sept. 17 in favour of the new rules.
Council expects the municipality to issue about 40 new taxi licences a year.
"Listen, it's about competition," said Coun. Tony Mancini. "I'm a small business guy. I was in business for 30 years — we have to increase competition."
With files from Preston Mulligan