Whitehorse city administration presented council with a list of eight suggested changes to the vehicle-for-hire bylaw.
Included among them are a three-to-four day training course for vehicle-for-hire drivers, holding taxi company owners responsible for the driving infractions of drivers, and requiring hardwired in-car cameras to be operational while the car is running, with a delayed camera shut-off of 30 minutes after the engine is cut.
The vehicle-for-hire bylaw was re-written in 2015 to include stricter record checks, different cameras, and services for those with disabilities. Most of these came into effect in May 2017.
This new slate of changes comes after a number of women’s groups raised concerns with council in late 2017 over passenger safety.
At the time, RCMP had recently charged a vehicle-for-hire driver with the sexual assault of two women passengers.
In January 2018, city staff reviewed the existing vehicle-for-hire bylaw.
Another of the eight recommendations that came of this is that video images from in-car cameras be kept by taxi companies for seven days.
At the standing committees meeting on May 28, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu asked Dave Pruden, manager of bylaw services, what happens with video after the seven days.
“Quite often, I understand, you know, reports of this type that we’re trying to avoid, I don’t really want to specify because it could be just about anything really, you know, but if someone were to report some kind of an incident, it may not be as immediate as within seven days,” she said, adding that reporting time may depend on the offense and the trauma suffered by the person reporting.
Pruden said seven days is greater than most other cities, where the standard is three days.
He said Calgary recently moved from a requirement of three days to five days. The general thinking, he said, is that in the case of a serious offense, people will report it quickly.
Coun. Samson Hartland asked about the training requirement for drivers.
Pruden said the training, which focusses on driver and passenger safety, and dealing with the public, will be mandatory. He said that for the remainder of 2018, the training will be free because drivers and cab company owners have reminded the city that changes and camera upgrades are already costing money. After 2018, however, the course will cost $250 to $350 per person.
The issue will come forward to council in June.
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