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The City of Saint John Taxi By-law – what you need to know

Tue October 17, 2017

On September 18, 2017, amendments were made to the City of Saint John Taxi By-law. A fundamental function of the City’s Taxi By-law and the critical role of the Taxi Inspector is to promote public safety, especially with respect to vehicle condition, vehicle age, vehicle licencing and driver criminal record checks. The Taxi Inspector maintains the authority and responsibility to administer and enforce the Taxi By-law. The Taxi By-law is applicable to any motor vehicle offering passenger transportation services for payment, other than a bus. 

The recent By-law amendments build off of the work previously completed by the former Taxi Review Committee and recommendations as adopted by multiple Councils, which involved extensive public, stakeholder and industry consultation and input.

The transition from zone rates to a metered rate system using Centrodyne meters was approved by Council in June 2015, with an effective date of May 31, 2016.  The taxi industry was given a full year to prepare for the transition to meters.  The current meter rates were recommended by the Taxi Advisory Committee in consultation with the taxi industry, and were adopted by Council in June 2016.  The September 2017 amendments to the Taxi By-law did not include any changes in rates.  

The most recent amendments of the Taxi By-law provide greater authority for the City's Taxi Inspector to administer the Taxi By-law, while clarifying the use of contract or volume discount rates (allowed under the By-law) and the use of roof lights. 

For ease of reference, the City has prepared an unofficial consolidation of the Taxi By-law.  You can find it at the following link*: http://documents.saintjohn.ca/weblink/0/doc/93366/Page1.aspx

All supporting Council packages, reports, By-law amendments and Council minutes are publicly available on the City’s website at: http://www.saintjohn.ca/en/home/cityhall/mayor-and-council/default.aspx

 

Frequently asked Questions:

Why Do We Have A Taxi By-Law?

  • Citizen, driver and vehicle safety is our top priority.
  • A fundamental function of the By-law and the role of the Taxi Inspector is public safety, especially with respect to vehicle condition, vehicle age, vehicle licencing and driver criminal checks. 
  • Passengers should understand what they will be charged when using a local cab or other vehicle for hire.
  • We need consistency and fairness in how rates are applied to local residents and visitors.  Unfortunately, there have been examples of unfair and inconsistent applications of taxi fares within the City of Saint John.  
  • We need to encourage and support our local taxi industry in elevating service delivery standards, including driver knowledge and professionalism, as well as vehicle operation and condition.
  • We need to ensure that our taxi industry remains viable and competitive. The taxi industry, while being regulated by municipal By-law, is a for profit industry that had not seen a rate adjustment prior to 2016 for close to 15 years. 
  • Taxi industry regulation is a normal operating practise in communities across Canada and North America.

 

Why the use of meters and metered rates?

  • Metered rates reflect an industry standard that is successfully used in cities all across Canada and United States. 
  • Metered rates ensure clarity, transparency and fairness in how rates are applied to local residents and visitors when using the service of local taxis and vehicles for hire.
  • The metered rates as adopted here in Saint John are based on the work of a Taxi Review Committee, a review of peer communities and best practises in Canada, and direct industry input gathered in June 2016 through the City’s Taxi Advisory Committee. 
  • The Taxi Advisory Committee has indicated that it will review rates in 2018 in consultation with the public, tourism industry and taxi industry, and subsequently report back to Common Council.

 

If you have questions regarding the Taxi By-law

The Taxi Inspector is a Member of the Saint John Police Force and is responsible for By-law and taxi industry licencing and enforcement issues. Public safety issues and citizen complaints should be directed to the Taxi Inspector at 648-3261.

 

The Taxi Advisory Committee can be reached at saintjohn.ca. The Taxi Advisory Committee, in cooperation with local taxi and tourism industries and the general public, makes recommendations to Common Council respecting:

  1. the setting of license fees;
  2. the role of the Taxicab industry;
  3. any problems in the Taxicab industry;
  4. changes to the Taxi By-law and associated rates (Schedule "B" of the By-law).

 

 

* Should there be a conflict between the unofficial consolidation of the Taxi By-law and the Taxi By-law and amendments thereto, as approved by Common Council, the latter shall prevail.