July 18th, 2024

Council approves taxi deregulation

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 15, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

With the second and third reading of a bylaw Tuesday afternoon by city council, the Lethbridge taxi industry has become deregulated.

To a point.

Bylaw 6422, a bylaw to amend the Business Licence Bylaw 5658, removes the necessity for cabs to carry a top light and ends regulation of fares and charges. It also calls for the removal of any device associated with fares and charges.

The first reading of the bylaw was given by council earlier this fall.

A report presented to the Community Safety Standing Policy Committee of council in October said that in December of 2022, the City had had engagements with eight of 10 taxi companies operating in Lethbridge to get feedback after a public submission that was made on Sept. 8 of 2022.

Before the unanimous vote, councillor Belinda Crowson said during discussion before second reading that when taxi services are deregulated that quite often they are re-regulated for various reasons.

She did some research and one article on occupational safety regarding the taxi sector impacts health and safety conditions of operators and indicates deregulations exacerbates existing health and safety vulnerabilities of the existing work force.

So she wanted to know if any research was done by administration when it was looking at deregulation.

She said while the City is looking at deregulation from an economic viewpoint “his suggests there might be other issues that we’re not looking at in deregulation.”

Dave Henley of the City told Crowson that deregulation will not affect safety.

Henley said the taxi industry has changed over the past 10 years and it started with ride sharing services with the province putting in stringent regulations so the city doesn’t have to have their own regulations.

“Now taxi businesses are moving to a deregulated type of industry. With that though, we aren’t completely deregulating the taxi industry,” he said, noting council requested a deregulation of rates and remove the top light and leave all other safety aspects in place.

“With these changes, all of the regulations that were created to ensure that taxi drivers are licenced and have criminal record checks, those are all intact. We’ve also maintained the requirement for every taxi cab company to submit their vehicle for a taxi inspection. The one thing we won’t be looking at is the meter or the rates they are changing,” Henley added.

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