Drivers protest,but city says in-car video is coming
Despite protests by hundreds of irate taxi drivers yesterday, Mayor Larry O’Brien has vowed that security cameras will be installed in every city cab by July 2.
"This is a public safety issue," he said. "It is about providing the safest transportation option for the citizens of Ottawa and it has the added benefit of providing increased security for the drivers."
O’Brien suspects few operators would risk having licenses revoked for not complying with the bylaw. But drivers who converged yesterday at city hall after a "rolling" protest into downtown were adamant they would not install the cameras, citing privacy and financial concerns.
"Our message is very clear. There will be no cameras without our consent," said Al Mezel.
Drivers say they were not consulted on what cameras would be installed and want to restart the tendering process. In 2005, the city approved a five-cent-per fare levy to help drivers cover the cost of the cameras.
CAW national representative Mohamad Alsadi said drivers would arrange protests again today.
"It is not our intention to pick a fight with the city, but if the city wants to pick a fight with us, we’re ready for them," he said.
But the city has signed a contract with a supplier and four months is time to resolve the privacy issues, said director of bylaw services Susan Jones.
Regarding privacy concerns, Jones said police would view most footage when necessary, but conceded bylaw officers would also occasionally have access.
Council will vote today on a recommendation to push the implementation date to July 2.