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Taxi drivers demonstrate in front of Red Deer City Hall

City council pass first reading to make changes to Vehicle for Hire Bylaw
Red Deer taxi drivers gathered to protest proposed changes to the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw that would eliminate the cap on taxi plates. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff) Taxi drivers in Red Deer gathered to protest the changes to the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw that would eliminate the cap on taxi plates. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Taxi drivers protested in front of City Hall on Monday against a proposal before city council to get rid of the cap on taxis in the city.

Drivers were concerned that too much competition will kill the local taxi industry, put drivers out of work and create hardships for their families, and negatively impact customers who depend on them, especially seniors.

“We became like family members. They trust us. They’re going to break that trust,” said driver Mohd Zekria about city council.

He said taxis can often respond faster than ambulances because they are ready and waiting in every zone of the city.

But inside city council chambers, councillors took the first step towards eliminating the cap by unanimously passing first reading to change the Vehicle for Hire Bylaw.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies was absent from the meeting.


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The bylaw will return for second and third reading on April 29, and members of the public are welcome to submit their comments to council. No public hearing is required for the bylaw and second and third readings.

Administration recommended removing the per capita cap on taxi plates to allow for free enterprise and existing brokerages and drivers to expand their services by removing regulations on the industry. Similar regulations do not apply to any other industry or Vehicle for Hire type.

The change could also help accommodate peaks in demand which is a concern for citizens, alleviate the wait times, and give options to citizens.

But administration also noted that removing the cap may impact existing companies and could potentially change the opportunity to earn a living wage.


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Coun. Vesna Higham said she knows whenever there is a big event at Westerner Park people have a lot of trouble getting a taxi or Uber, and she would like to see data from transportation companies about their capacity and ability to deal with big events.

She added that council is responsible for making decisions that are good for the whole community, not certain groups.

Zekria, who is with Associated Cab and Alberta Gold Taxi, said they have a good record of serving citizens.

He said 102 cab drivers, which is the large majority of drivers in the city, signed a petition against removing the cap, but the city has been ignoring their concerns.

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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