Ask TPR Vol. 7
December 7, 2018
This is the seventh post in an ongoing series called ‘Ask TPR’ where frequently asked questions from residents are answered publicly. If you have a question about Town operations please use the form at the bottom of the page.
Updates to Peace River’s Taxi Bylaw
Peace River’s Taxi Bylaw was updated on November 26, 2018, tap or click here to view the updated bylaw.
Why did the Bylaw need to be updated?
The changes were the result of a review following feedback received from stakeholders including taxi companies, drivers, and users. What we heard was that safety concerns needed to be addressed, as well as, service issues such as taxi availability. While this Bylaw cannot mandate a taxi service it is meant to allow the free market to operate in a way that produces safe, reliable taxi service in Peace River.
What’s the process to become a permitted taxi driver in Peace River?
Under the new Bylaw, a prospective driver must apply for a permit through the town of Peace River. Our process requires a clean driver’s abstract, criminal and vulnerable sector check, as well as a fingerprint check. Based on these requirements, Taxi drivers in Peace River will be held to the same or a higher standard than teachers or daycare workers.
Why so much vetting?
Taxi companies are entrusted with the care of their clients and we want to make sure we have done everything within our power to ensure the passenger is safe. These processes are meant to discern if a driver is purposefully trying to hide a criminal past.
What happens if a driver is charged with a crime?
As before, if a driver is charged with a crime, they must report it to us. The Bylaw also gives the Town the means to get the information from the RCMP. Either way can result in the driver having their permit pulled.
What about companies based in other communities?
We can’t control taxi licencing Bylaws in other communities and it is not illegal for a taxi company to bring a fare into Peace River. However, if a company, based in another community picks up fares in Peace River, they must have a business license and permit under our Bylaw and that means going through the vetting process.
Improving Taxi Service
What is a Probationary permit?
A Probationary permit means that a driver has submitted a clean driver’s abstract, a clean criminal record and vulnerable sector check, and has applied for a fingerprint check. The fingerprint check can take several months. Due to that delay, assuming all of the other documents are in order, the Town can grant a probationary permit. When the driver fills out the application, they are asked about certain criminal convictions before they can be issued a probationary permit. If it is later discovered through the fingerprint check that they filed a false application, then their probationary permit will be revoked and they may be subject to a fine.
Why a Probationary permit?
We heard from taxi companies that they struggled to find drivers, this, in turn, has made it difficult for some companies to operate. In the past, the Town required the fingerprint check prior to issuing a permit. That process could take months and during that time, many prospective taxi drivers found other work. This delay is one of the reasons the community is low on available taxi drivers. We believe this probationary permit will make it easier for taxi companies to hire and retain staff, which will improve service in Peace River.
What if there is an issue?
Taxis in Peace River must be clean, well signed, have rate cards posted, and be operated according to the rules of the road. If you believe a taxi driver or company is operating outside of the Taxi Bylaw please contact our office, by phone at (780) 624-2574 or by email at [email protected].
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