Kingston Area Taxi Commission seeks input on changes to vehicle age by-laws

After tabling motions to repeal and amend sections of bylaws regarding ‘model year restrictions’ – the guidelines around the age of vehicles used as taxis in Kingston and the area – the local governing body for taxis and rideshare programs is seeking input.

Kingstonist file photo.

Specifically, at meetings of the Kingston Area Taxi Commission (KATC) in June and earlier this month, the Commission presented and gave first reading to motions to make changes to its ‘By-Law to Model Year Restriction’ of both taxicabs and accessible taxicabs. Now, the Commission is seeking input from both members of the public, as well as those within the taxi industry.

The meeting minutes regarding these by-law changes indicate changes are being proposed due to a few issues currently being faced by the taxi industry and those in it. Those issues include the current economic state of the taxi industry as a whole, which is “currently recovering from the pandemic and severe economic loss,” the KATC notes in its documents. The Commission also pointed to inflation rates being “at a 30-year high,” and that taxi drivers are “not in a position to replace vehicles” operating as taxicabs or accessible taxicabs. Finally, the Commission cites the lack of newer model vehicles available on the market, stating that “owners of Taxicabs are hard-pressed to locate and acquire newer model vehicles.”

The Commission asserts that the enforcement of current bylaws regarding the restrictions on vehicle model years “would greatly reduce the number of available taxicabs for public use, severely reducing the capacity of the Taxi Industry to meet the demand of public transportation requirements,” and “cause owners of taxicabs economic burden and undue stress.” As such, the KATC has proposed new clauses to the by-laws around model year restrictions on taxicabs, and the repeal of one by-law section (a “By-Law to Accessible Plates”), and the amendment of another by-law section (a “By-Law to Accessible Equipment and its Uses”) around model year restrictions on accessible taxicabs.

In short, the Commission has proposed changes to allow for some leniency regarding the restrictions on the age of vehicles used as taxis, many of which include conditions that will need to be met in order for those allowances.

All of the proposed changes are available to the public through the KATC website, the Commission said in a press release on Tuesday, Jul. 18, 2022, and members of the public and those within the taxi industry locally are invited to provide input or ask questions of the Commission about these changes.

“Public consultation is requested and begins July 20, 2022, via the Standing Committee,” said Joseph Dowser, Chair of the KATC.

“The Commission is working to assist the industry into recovery from the continued effects of the pandemic.”

Those who are interested in hearing the initial discussions regarding the changes can view the past relevant KATC meetings on the Commission’s Facebook page. The June 29 KATC Standing Committee meeting can be viewed here, the July 6 KATC Standing Committee meeting can be viewed here, and the July 13 General Meeting can be viewed here.

For more information or to provide input, visit the KATC webpage giving notice of the public consultation process, which opens for input on Wednesday, Jul. 20 and closes Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.

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