Is it more hypocritical or more reactionary? I can’t decide.
The city, which seems tepid to the enforcement of many bylaws except the lucrative downtown parking one, now proposes banning what is probably the least questionable practice of the many new taxi services in town. This ban would deny taxi drivers cellphones, but would apply to no other drivers on the road, not even the one who almost hit me on the crosswalk last week while she was talking on hers.
Had anyone asked some tough questions and received some honest answers about why taxis were deregulated in the first place, or, later, why said deregulation gave rise to such an increase in companies and individual cabs, we would not be in this quandary.
When I moved to Whitehorse in 1994, there was but one cab company. Since deregulation, I cannot seem to keep track of them, so numerous are they in both companies and vehicles. Our population growth simply does not support this, especially in light of a boom that has allowed most to overextend themselves on vinyl homes and vehicles. It does not escape me, either, that so many appear to be absent of passengers, and don’t they park in the darnedest places?
Any given evening, doggie walk at any number of riverbank locations that will accommodate parking and you’ll see taxis lurking, engines idling, drivers throwing anxious backward and forward glances: the lookout appears to be part and parcel of a value-added service to those in the back seat doing goodness knows what.
Ken Giam’s right; there is no need for a dozen cabs outside Superstore. People, they are not there on a volunteer basis. Whitehorse’s many new cab companies are thriving on the real trade: the running of customers, goods and services/service providers to and from wherever SCAN happens to have relocated them (the latest SCAN householder is celebrating a big 70 such moves).
My, my, whoever would have predicted that acquiescing to gangs, their traffic, and a complacent police force that would sooner circumvent the charter to simply move drugs and hookers from one neighbourhood to another in perpetuity would give rise to such an industry? I believe the Fentie government refers to this as an “economic spinoff.”
Council’s response, to strip already undeniably unfortunate cabbies of their cellphones, is bound to sing to the safety freaks in the crowd (that strange breed that seems equally afraid of dying and living).
But when I think about the doings that support the many new taxi companies in Whitehorse, a little cellphone usage doesn’t scare me a bit.