By Cecilia Nasmith
Kelly Paton, who purchased Cobourg Cab with her husband eight months ago, urged council at this week's committee-of-the-whole meeting to reconsider Councillor Adam Bureau's move to abolish all limits on the number of taxi licenses the town issues.
“I personally believe unlimited licenses could be the wrong move due to the saturation of the market, which I hear has happened in the past,” Paton said.
“I don't think things should go back to the way they were either. We have to try to reach a middle ground.”
Until a review of Bylaw 14-2014 can be completed, Paton added, she would suggest no new licenses be issued – with an exception made for existing businesses who are trying to improve their service to the public.
She also asked for a review of the pricing structure, which hasn't been updated since 2010. She shared a letter from another player in the tax industry asking that special seniors rates be abolished, since neither the gas pump nor the insurance brokers give taxis a break for driving them.
Finally, Paton urged that any changes to the taxi industry be undertaken in consultation with the taxi businesses in town.
She allowed that, of the 19 taxi licenses currently allowed, not all of them are used.
“Everybody faces their own problems and issues and challenges and difficulties in business. For one reason or another, licenses may not be used,” she said.
The ultimate goal should be a taxi industry that provides pick-ups and deliveries on a timely basis, said Bureau – who originally made his bylaw amendment after hearing from a number of constituents of lengthy waits for a cab (especially in the wee hours of the morning).
Municipal clerk Brent Larmer pointed out that the taxi bylaw is under review and a community-engagement plan is being prepared.
“We want to really engage consumers of the taxi industry, look at all the options and concerns, not only that the owners have but members of the public,” Larmer said.