Toronto City Councillor Looking at Installing Protective Shields and Requiring Pre-Payments After Dark in Toronto’s Taxi’s

Update:

Taxi's are abundant in downtown Toronto and all are hustling to make a buck.  The competition amongst taxi app's. has been heating up in Toronto.
Taxi’s are abundant in downtown Toronto and all are hustling to make a buck. The Chairman of the Licensing and Standards Committee wants to probe three controversial issues: Protective Shields in taxi’s, Pre-payment of fares after dark from customers and the use of debit and credit cards (which normally include a user fee, above and beyond the price of the fare, ranging from 0 to $2.00).

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Councillor Cesar Palacio wants to look at ensuring Toronto’s cabs are equipped with protective shields.

The chairman of the licensing and standards committee will ask city officials to report on taxi shields by May.

He also wants a report on implementing pre-payment or deposit arrangements after dark and on the use of credit or debit card machines to reduce the amount of cash drivers carry.

Palacio’s request comes less than a month after Beck taxi driver Yaw Boamah was stabbed, robbed and run over by his own cab.

The 57-year-old driver told the Toronto Sun a shield between drivers and passengers would reduce assaults.

In a letter that will go to the licensing committee on April 18, Palacio said customers routinely pay up front or put down deposits for many items, including hotel rooms, public transit and gasoline.

“Fare jumping has been an on-going problem in the taxi Industry which has lead to a loss of revenue, and in some cases, violent altercations which have placed taxi drivers in serious danger,” Palacio stated.

“It is incumbent on the city, as the taxi industry regulator, to ensure that both the taxi riding public and taxi drivers are protected to the best of our ability.”

Palacio said cases like the assault of Boamah have “highlighted some imperfections in the system” and created “the urgent need to revisit safety issues.”

He argued that while critics argue protective shields are unsightly or unnecessary, studies in other cities have demonstrated that they reduce instances of violence against drivers by more than 50%.

“This is an alarming statistic that can have a profound impact on the taxi industry and the safety of our drivers, and thus highlighting the need to be reviewed and studied in our local context.”

The issue of taxi shields has come up before at City Hall. In February 2007, members of Toronto’s licensing committee nixed efforts to make the shields mandatory.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you really know what you’re talking about! Bookmarked.

  2. Thanks for the reply!

    Violence is alarming. It’s commendable when government representatives want to help. Permanently forcing people to do anything new is usually bad, but I’m sure there are sufficient motivations to install shields (insurance? personal safety? subsidy?) if they’re a good solution. Taxis aren’t really The Queen’s business; as Admin says, that’s between customers and the Taxi industry.

    Cashless society is a cool idea, but untested. Someday we’ll transfer bitcoins or credit chits to our automated taxis, but now “cashless” relies on fee-based monopoles. We shouldn’t base our economy on a couple globalized companies.

    Prepayment takes power from the consumer, and gives it to the retailer. Wireless cards are so common now, customers may not realize they’ve pre-paid. If a driver is hostile, or roads are impassible (snow, traffic), or if the driver pulls the old “I’ll take the Las Vegas Strip Blvd (scenic route) to your hotel…” trick, get ready to spend half a day on hold to dispute <200$ charges. Pre-payment is a fantastic solution for companies which decide to require it, with an informed consumer who prefers it.

  3. Hi Yes:
    I agree with your reply.

    Pre-payment is not an option. What if you were to pay for a $30 cab fare (in advance of the trip) and the taxi breaks down or
    the taxi is involved in an accident, before your destination is reached? If another taxi was summoned and sent to your location
    to pick you up so you could finish the trip to your intended destination, do you think that the second taxi driver would waive the
    $4.25 drop fee (losing on his/her total fare on the conclusion of the trip)?

    Should taxi customers be forced to use their credit card or debit card and also be forced to pay for the fees associated with
    the use of these cards – sometimes the fee is waived (while using a credit card) but in a large majority of transactions (while
    utilizing a debit/credit card – aka “plastic”) there is a fee of anywhere from .50 cents to $2.00. This fee is above and beyond the fare at the
    end of the trip. As society moves more and more into a cashless society (55% of all consumer tranactions are still done with cash)
    we find that when we use other forms of currency (plastic) that there is a penalty or fee while using this means of currency.

    Safety shields should be an option for any owner/driver that desires to install one in their taxi. They should not be mandatory, but should be optional. As you have said they are expensive and any bureaucrat should be sensitive to this reality.

    Hopefully, representatives of the taxi industry and the public will have an oppotunity to participate in the process, which should involve meaningful consultation with all of the interested parties.

  4. Prepayment for services doesn’t work, because there is no guarantee or recourse if the service is not provided and little motivation to provide it.

    I’ve talked to a very friendly taxi driver about the shields. He hated them, and asked me to ride in the front seat. Retrofitting the shield apparently requires moving the front seat forward, making driving difficult and uncomfortable. It is a barrier between the passenger and the driver, making communication and payment difficult. If the passenger wants to harm the driver, the shield is apparently plastic, and a section of it was already broken off in the taxi I was in. I don’t drive a taxi or ride them yearly, so I don’t have much interest.

    Taxi drivers have a union. If shields are a dramatic help, the city won’t need to force their implementation. The real solution is something bespoke, like a london-taxis.co.uk product designed to protect the driver. It’s expensive, but Taxi companies and unions can decide what are in their best interest.

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