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Trying to find a fare resolution

Pity the poor cabbie. It’s not an easy gig. Basically, your job is todrive a bunch of drunks around town, which must make for a pleasantevening.

Pity the poor cabbie. It’s not an easy gig. Basically, your job is to drive a bunch of drunks around town, which must make for a pleasant evening.

And once you’ve paid fees, car maintenance and gas, you’re lucky to have enough left over for a chocolate bar. A little one.

Then there’s traffic, which is bad enough when you don’t have to spend 12 hours a day in it. I can’t imagine what that’s like, especially now that the mayor is busy, busy, creating a rat’s maze of bike lanes to test your skill and patience.

Oh well, it gives you something to do when you’re No. 27 in the queue waiting for a fare: Count the number of cyclists on the new Dunsmuir bike lane … one cyclist. Uh, two cyclists…

But now you have to watch for tricky government bureaucrats trying to catch you picking up fares out of your zone. Ask Gurmeet Singh of Guildford Cabs, who was heading back to the airport, where he’s licensed to operate, and stopped to pick up a fare on Broadway and Granville at 11 p.m. Saturday, where he’s not.

That was no fare; that was an enforcement officer for the Passenger Transportation Board, and here’s a ticket for $1,150.

Are you nuts? $1,150!

The poor guy, in his defence, says the woman appeared to be alone on a dark night and looked as if she really needed a cab. You could make an argument that he should get the key to the city, not a $1,150 kick in the head. But the Passenger Transportation Board is not famous for its mercy.

Enforcement is understandable, but more and more, the authorities resort to trickery and subterfuge, and it’s getting harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys. It’s one thing when you’re trying to apprehend sneaky homicidal gangsters, but why pick on ordinary, usually law-abiding people trying to make a living?

Especially cab drivers. How many times have you stood on the curb in the rain while a cabbie sails by, his dome light off and a look of genuine regret in his eye? Now you know why. Feel better?

Memo to the board: We all understand that a free-for-all may not be in everyone’s best interests. Regulate the taxi business, ensure public safety, but do not go out of your way to increase the lack of trust on the street.

There’s already plenty of that.

 
 
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