City council in North Battleford has gotten the ball rolling towards a new taxi bylaw for the city.
Administration introduced the issue to council Monday night at their meeting. Council voted in favour of directing administration to bring forward a draft vehicle-for-hire bylaw for approval.
Director of planning and development Jennifer Niesink explained to council that the current bylaw is old and dated. In a memo to council she noted administration has fielded many questions and inquiries related to the taxi bylaw, as well as the potential for ride-sharing opportunities such as Uber or Lyft.
To address the concerns, administration has been looking at bylaws in cities across the country, and have been in contact with the local taxi company Crown Cab and included their comments.
“There’s a lot of changes coming to the way people get around cities,” said Niesink. “We’re not at the Uber stage yet but this would help us start to prepare to be there.“
According to the current bylaw, taxi licenses are restricted to 16 in the city – one per 1,000 population – and are given to one company. The current bylaw doesn’t address ride-sharing.
Administration suggested a number of procedures be put into the new bylaw. According to administration’s memo to council on the issue, those include the following:
1. Only taxis can be hailed from the street.
2. Taxis, limousines, and transportation network vehicles must be open to the public and report any refusals to the City.
3. Taxis and transportation network companies must be open to the public full time seven days a week and 24 hours per day.
4. Taxis and transportation network vehicles cannot be home-based businesses and must have a commercial office.
5 Limousines with two or more vehicles cannot be home-based businesses and must have a commercial location for the storage of vehicles.
6. Transportation network vehicles can only be ordered in advance.
7. Taxis must have a top-light, a meter, and company information on vehicle.
8. Transportation network vehicles and limousines must have company markings on the vehicle, cannot have a meter or top light and cannot use the word taxi, cab or taxicab in advertising.
The next step is for administration to begin the work on the bylaw. Mayor Ryan Bater said there was still plenty of time for public engagement on the issue.