Taxi cabs parade through Yellowknife in late 2018, in memory of Ahmed Mahamud Ali. James O'Connor/Cabin Radio
Cab drivers in Yellowknife must now purchase a newer model once their vehicle is 15 years old, an increase on the previous nine-year limit.
City councillors approved the change on Monday after City Cab’s Walid Mohamed asked in October for a temporary increase as the pandemic had suppressed income and disrupted the supply chain, making it harder for drivers to get new vehicles.
Councillor Cynthia Mufandaedza proposed extending the maximum taxi age to 15 years, in line with a recent change for such vehicles in Inuvik.
“Ten years is not enough for people to be able to replenish their vehicles,” she said.
Councillor Niels Konge supported Mufandaedza’s proposal and would happily remove age limits for taxis entirely, as the city has what he termed a “robust” inspection program for vehicles. Taxis must be inspected by both a licensed mechanic and city staff annually, then twice a year after they reach six years of age.
“I’ve seen some vehicles that are two and three years old and not safe to be on the road … I have a 1968 classic car that is in as good shape today as what it was when it came off the factory line,” Konge said. “It’s really about how you maintain them and that’s where I think the focus should be.”
Councillor Robin Williams agreed with Konge, while councillors Shauna Morgan and Stacie Smith preferred a temporary one-year extension to give city staff more time for research before increasing the age limit further.
“I’d rather not jump the gun on this,” Smith said.
Mufandaedza’s motion ultimately passed with Mayor Rebecca Alty and councillors Mufandaedza, Williams, Konge, Steve Payne, Julian Morse and Rommel Silverio in favour. Following that amendment, the final reading of the bylaw change passed unanimously.
Councillors plan a more thorough review of the livery licence bylaw, which governs taxi operation in the city, later this year.