Tbnewswatch Local News
2014-03-25 at 3:08PM

Council agrees after debate to takeover regulation of taxicabs

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

Council has agreed in principle to take the taxis back.

Taxis and limousines have been regulated by the Thunder Bay Police Service for nearly 20 years. But the $65,000 program has been tying up officers and resources, leaving the Police Services Board to ask the city if it can take on the responsibility. On Monday night council agreed but not without debate.

Coun. Ken Boshcoff wants the $65,000 to be taken out of the police budget if regulation is heading to the city.

"We transfer that money to where it's going to be done," he said. "That's all. It's straight forward."

Administration said it doesn't know what taking on the responsibility will cost, although it will also generate revenue. It's also unclear what the new bylaw to have the city regulate taxi service will look like. That didn't sit well with Coun. Rebecca Johnson. She didn't want council to commit to something without having the facts.

"I have a problem with that," she said.

"I can't belive we're going to do something without all of the information."

Coun. Joe Virdiramo, who also chairs the police services board, said the issue has been looked at for years. A report was finally completed this past year with the option to return taxis to the city. It wasn't an overnight process and it won't be implemented right away.

"It's not happening tomorrow," he said. 

Council was told it needed to approve the idea in principle so that administration can start working on the program, expected to be brought back to council this fall and implemented next year.

Costs and wait times will also be explored through the report.


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