Digby taxi owners will pay for own inspections

Jonathan
Jonathan Riley
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Digby town council news

The town of Digby will continue to license taxis and taxi operators in town, but from on, the taxi operators will pay for their own inspections.

Digby town council has been considering changes to the taxi by-law since March, when councillor Bob Handspiker questioned an entry on the town’s payables (or bills) during a committee of the whole meeting.

Handspiker objected to the town paying for the inspection of taxicabs.

At the last week’s committee of the whole meeting,  councillors approved in principle a staff suggestion to repeal the existing taxi bylaw from 2006 and make several amendments when writing the new one.

Most importantly taxicab operators will pay for their own inspections at an approved Nova Scotia Vehicle Inspection Station.

The town will reduce the taxicab owners fee from $30 to $25 per vehicle and increase the taxi operators license from $10 to $25 to bring the fees inline with provincial legislation.

The town will also no longer regulate fares for out of town services because the town has no jurisdiction beyond the town’s boundaries.

The town policy up to now had been to hire three inspectors from the Motor Vehicle Compliance branch of the Department of Transportation at a cost to the town of $690 to inspect the taxi cabs in operation in town.

“Some towns have chosen to go this route rather than get the MVI done at a local garage as they felt the inspection was not done well enough,” said Handspiker in a report to council in April. “Public safety should not be jeopardized but neither should the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars. Regardless of who conducts the MVI, it should not be the taxpayer who pays.”

In fact, Richard Parry, Digby’s special constable, says only Digby and Bridgewater still hire vehicle compliance inspectors.

In the special constable’s latest report, he made two recommendations:

1)          Either, the town could get out of the business of licensing taxis altogether

2)          Or; the town writes a new by-law whereby the taxicab owners pay for inspections at an approved Nova Scotia Vehicle Inspection Station.

The CAO reported back that there’s nothing stopping the town from not licensing taxis but he was uncertain if taxis could operate in town under those circumstances.

The special constable reported that he had talked with all the taxicab operators in town and that they all preferred the town continue to license the industry and let the operators pay for their own inspections.

Councillors voted at committee of the whole on June 16 to recommend that solution.

Council must still vote officially, probably at the next council meeting on July 7, to repeal the old by-law and begin the approval process for the new one.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Organizations: Nova Scotia Vehicle Inspection Station, Digby town council, Department of Transportation

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