Hay River is close to passing changes to its taxi bylaw which will reduce the hours taxi companies have to provide service.
Currently, taxi companies have to provide service for 24 hours a day, with at least two cabs available, according to senior administrative officer Glenn Smith.
The new proposed hours will see companies have to provide:
- one taxi between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and statutory holidays
- two taxis between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- one taxi between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday
- two taxis between 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Smith said without the bylaw change, Hay River would likely lose its two current taxi companies, Reliable Cabs and Island Taxi.
The new proposed hours provide a middle ground between the current bylaw and what companies say they will be able to cover, he added.
These changes come after the town received “many complaints” about residents having long wait times for taxis, or sometimes having their calls to dispatch go unanswered.
In meetings with the town’s two taxi companies, Reliable Cabs and Island Taxi, both said the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuating demand for taxi service meant it was difficult to provide coverage.
Councillor Brian Willows said the town shouldn’t make a bylaw change during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a drastic impact on the demand for taxis.
“By addressing customer service concerns, what we’re basically agreeing to do is lower the number of customer service hours, those two things don’t seem to line up for me,” he said.
The Taxi License Bylaw was last updated in 2009. The bylaw will have time for public feedback and then go to a final reading and vote.