Halifax regional council has scrapped a plan to eliminate taxi zones in HRM.
In early November, council approved in principle amendments to the taxi bylaw aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the city’s cabs. One of those amendments would have done away with the zone system, where cars can only pick up passengers in designated areas. Staff said this caused cabbies to drive back and forth between zones without a passenger — a practice known as deadheading.
Last night, however, council changed its mind and voted down the amendments after a first reading of the motion.
Coun. Steve Adams, chairman of HRM’s taxi commission, said he was concerned there would be no fair way to merge the waiting lists for taxi licences in the various zones.
He said some people have been waiting for up to 12 years, and to simply add them to the end of a new list would be “grossly unfair.”
Coun. Bill Karsten disagreed, arguing the matter should at least be brought to a public hearing, and that several other important amendments were being thrown out along with the zoning changes.
A second taxi-related matter also came before council last night.
The Halifax International Airport Authority requested the municipality approve new flat-rate fares to and from the airport, saying the current system does not encompass all of HRM and is confusing for both passengers and drivers.
Council voted overwhelmingly in support of the new regulations, which will divide the municipality into 19 zones, each with its own series of flat-rate fares. They range from $12 for trips within the Airport and Aerotech zone, all the way up to $202 for trips to or from Sheet Harbour.
The fares are designed to reflect a metered price, council heard, but passengers can still choose to have their fare measured by traditional meter.
In other council news, councillors approved the transfer of $103,785 in leftover funds from Halifax’s Commonwealth Games bid to the Canada Games Legacy Fund.