Editorial: It’s time for tempers to chill over the ‘cool bus’

It is reasonable to expect there to be some rules around this service

You never know who is going to show up as a delegate to present to Whitehorse City Council at its meetings each week.

One of the beauties of municipal politics is how relatively easy it is to get a chance to talk directly to the politicians and make your case for whatever issue you think is most important.

But this week one delegate found out exactly what it takes to get cut off by council.

On Monday Daniel MacKenzie showed up to make a presentation while wearing a feather headpiece complete with googly eyes. He tried to play music as part of a claim that his human rights had somehow been violated.

For about the last month MacKenzie has been trying to get the city’s help with his “Magic Cool Bus.” Originally the bus was going to offer free rides and entertainment to Yukoners in need.

The city distanced itself from MacKenzie and his bus, issuing a statement saying MacKenzie hadn’t met any of the regulatory requirements necessary to provide his service.

Officials originally got kicked around online for making that call but it was the right decision.

It’s true more could be done to make the streets in Whitehorse safer particularly when it comes to transportation. Taxi drivers only recently started being required to take training and even then that was only after concerns were raised by women’s groups

The city has also flatly refused to even consider the idea of a Sunday bus service which would give people more opportunities to safely get home. With the potential for a cancelled Handibus on the horizon, there are obvious causes for concern.

But that doesn’t mean city officials should jump at every plan tossed out there by a guy who bought himself a school bus.

The city is being prudent. Of course there needs to be requirements and regulations.

If the focus is on being safe, the last thing Whitehorse needs to be doing is encouraging people to get into vehicles being driven by strangers with no regulations.

It is completely unreasonable to think that any business – non-profit or not – would be able to run without evidence that staff are at least aware of the potential liabilities they face.

As a local lawyer recently pointed out, driving strangers can open a driver up to huge liability.

The risk only increases when passengers are drunk. The driver is liable both in the event of a crash or in the event of falls and injures that occur in the vehicle.

Changes to the vehicle-for-hire bylaw – which MacKenzie would have to follow according to the city – came about precisely because of safety concerns.

At the time, RCMP had charged a taxi driver with the sexual assault of two women passengers.

The bylaw includes stricter record checks for drivers and a requirement for in-car cameras.

MacKenzie appears to have come to his senses and now says he will be running his bus as a paid service offered by a private company.

He may now be able to meet the city’s reasonable expectations.

It is unfortunate that MacKenzie seems unable to make his pitch in a serious manner.

Underneath the googly eyes and unnecessary showmanship is a serious issue that deserves to be discussed by serious people.

The city does need to think about its transportation options. There should be better services for people who are looking to get home safe.

But those changes will need more than magic.

(AJ)

Just Posted

Woman’s death in Ross River confirmed to be a homicide, Yukon RCMP says

Maryann Ollie, 59, died on Aug. 1. She was a citizen of Ross River Dena Council.

Jack Amos adds to Yukon medal count at Western Canada Summer Games

The territory’s athletes now have six medals — one silver and five bronze

Start of the Whitehorse school year signals traffic changes

School zones in effect starting Aug. 21

Canada Games Centre tests new software

You may want to hold off on buying those punch cards

Yukonomist: Fun facts for your next violent barbecue debate about government jobs

Have you ever been at a barbecue where someone starts talking loudly… Continue reading

Yukon disc golfers compete in Trilogy Challenge

“We definitely are seeing a lot of new people starting into the sport”

Council news, briefly

Some of the decisions made at the Aug. 5 Whitehorse city council meeting

History Hunter: New book celebrates Yukon’s most colourful hotel

If the walls could talk, what tales they would tell. But the… Continue reading

River Trail Marathon tests runners with heat and sun

“It was very hot in the second half, but the volunteers are amazing and there is water often”

Yukonomist: If climate change was a pothole, we already would have fixed it

Paved roads are good, but I fear we have gone too far

Chili and Beans Race the perfect recipe for a rainy day

“It’s good. Especially in these conditions because you know you have a warm bowl of chili waiting”

Motive will be ‘extremely difficult’ to determine in northern B.C. deaths, RCMP say

The bodies of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky have been found

Most Read