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.