New city rules punish taxi industry, cabbie says

Bylaw officers began enforcing new rules for taxis May 1. The changes affect the vehicle for hire bylaw, which controls how taxis conduct themselves within the city.

Bylaw officers began enforcing new rules for taxis May 1.

The changes affect the vehicle for hire bylaw, which controls how taxis conduct themselves within the city.

The new regulations include requiring at least one accessible vehicle during all hours a company operates, a machine to take debit and credit cards, no additional fee for paying with a card, the capability to accept requests for cabs via text message or web-based systems for hearing-impaired people and having security cameras present and recording in all vehicles.

These changes have been on the books since July 2015. City cab companies were given nearly two years to comply.

“These new requirements will greatly improve community safety for both drivers and passengers,” said Mayor Dan Curtis in a press release.

Ken Giam, owner of Premier Cabs Whitehorse which operates 30 taxis in the city, said the bylaw updates are damaging to the cab industry.

“This is the problem we are facing. The city doesn’t care about the taxi industry,” said Giam.

Giam said it is not reasonable to expect every cab company to have a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Premier Cabs has had an accessible vehicle for the last six months and receives only one call per month for it, he said.

“The city is punishing the taxi industry,” he said.

Giam said the cameras the city wants installed are needlessly elaborate and expensive, costing around $600 each.

“Why so expensive? Why such high resolution?” he asked.

Giam said the required cameras are more than what is necessary to protect the public.

The cameras need to be of a certain quality in order to record in the dark, said Dave Pruden, the city’s bylaw services manager.

Pruden said having cameras in cabs is for the protection of both cab drivers and riders. Cameras are an “industry standard” in the south, he said.

“A lot of people weren’t taking cabs anymore before they didn’t feel safe.”

If the city were interested in protecting the public, he said, they would “limit the field of play for taxis” because, as it stands now, taxi businesses are “not viable.”

Giam said there are criminal elements already within some taxi companies.

“There are already drug traffickers, human traffickers in our industry because we aren’t making any money,” he said. “You can’t just let any Tom, Dick and Harry set up a cab company. You’re not attracting genuine businessmen.”

Giam said he has been trying to sell his company for the last five years.

Contact Lori Garrison at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read