It’s now fair game for taxi drivers in downtown Halifax on the weekends.
After many hours of debate yesterday, council pushed through a number of changes to the way taxis operate.
At the top of the heap was the relaxing of geographic zones between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the weekends. This means cabbies from other jurisdictions can pick up customers in downtown Halifax.
“This just adds stability and adds service where it’s needed,” said Spryfield-Herring Cove Coun. Stephen Adams.
But several councillors thought the municipality shouldn’t be sticking their noses into the taxi business.
“I don’t think the municipal government should be regulating anyone,” said Waverly-Fall River-Beaver Bank Coun. Krista Snow.
Her grandfather, who worked as a cab driver, would “spin in his grave” at the news, Snow added.
Other councillors were concerned cabbies would flock to downtown, making it even harder for people to get a taxi in communities like Dartmouth where they’re already spread thin.
But after hours of going around the table, Snow said it was time council made a decision on the matter.
“If we had cats driving taxis on Chebucto Road, that would be an accurate picture of this council,” she said, expressing her frustration of lingering debates to laughs from fellow councillors.
Cab driver Jelal Omar, who drives his Casino cab downtown, shrugged at the news other drivers will pounce on his territory. He said he doesn’t mind the extra competition and said there’s plenty to go around.
“Well, you see drivers from the Dartmouth zone and county zone working in Halifax anyway.”
Fellow driver Houshang Nadadi said an extra 200-300 cabs flooding the downtown will be a zoo.
“It’s going to be bad, 100 per cent,” he said. “Right now we don’t make enough money to feed our families, but with 300 people more coming in, it’s going to be a big mess.”
With files from Robyn Young