A number of changes are coming to the Highway Traffic Act for the taxi industry this summer.
The Minister of Service NL, Sherry Gambin-Walsh, along with Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Alan Doody and Derek Hayter of Newfound Cabs, announced the safety amendments coming to the taxi policy on July 1.
The changes fall under skilled driving, driving experience in the province, past driving habits and passenger safety and safer vehicles.
For example, new drivers seeking a Class 4 taxi license will now have to successfully complete a defensive driving course from a professional driving school, take an on-road assessment and have up to five hours of practical driving experience, then successfully complete a test in traffic given by a Motor Registration Division driver examiner.
Individuals will also have to hold a Class 5 driver’s license for at least two years now, up from the previous one year.
Derek Hayter of Newfound Cabs says the changes are positive ones to the industry.
Mayor Breen Unimpressed with Announcement
St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen is expressing his disappointment over the way the provincial government went about making recently announced changes to the Highway and Traffic Act. He feels the new taxi driver regulations don’t go far enough.
Breen says the city wanted to see mandatory background checks for cab drivers in the amendments.
Mayor Danny Breen is dismayed that the City was not included in Government consultation process for recently announced changes to the Highway and Traffic act involving taxi drivers. He says the City wanted to see background checks included in the amendments. @VOCMNEWS #nltraffic pic.twitter.com/OuGSy9UL1E
— Gerri Lynn Mackey (@GerriLynnMackey) May 16, 2018
He takes issue with what he calls a lack of consultation between government and the city leading up to today’s announcement, and he admits he had no idea the changes were coming.
Mayor Breen indicates he’s written a letter to Service NL Minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh, outlining his concerns and requesting a meeting with her.
The City of Corner Brook has made cab driver background checks part of policy, however Breen prefers to see a holistic approach from government.
Breen says municipalities should not be responsible for making background checks a requirement for taxi drivers, because they have no ability to enforce such a rule. He says pulling people over is a task designated for the RNC.