Say what you will about the province’s new laws surrounding impaired driving, and I and our readers have said plenty, but when you’re trying to combat drunk driving, it’s hard to get the message through to people that they should take a cab if it’s a nightmare to get a taxi.
I may not be convinced the province’s current approach is the right approach, I can imagine it must be pretty frustrating to be trying to set a specific tone regarding drunk driving and then have Calgary’s lack of cabs thrown in your face.
Denis is right. The city needs to get moving on more taxi licences, even temporary ones for big occasions, and better public transit.
Beyond that, they city should start looking at what would be involved in the deregulation of the taxi system.
But Denis can’t forget the province has a role to play here. A report done for the solicitor general’s office when Fred Lindsay was still the minister, and his ministry oversaw the province’s liquor laws, highlighted one big problem: Forcing bars to shut their doors all at once pushes hundreds, or thousands depending on the city, onto the street at the same time, exacerbating any existing taxi shortage.
So while I applaud Denis for talking tough with the city on taxis, the provincial government needs to look at what else it can do to help — whether it’s staggered closings, allowing all bars to stay open as late as they choose, or even whether removing last call would eliminate the crush of drunks on the street.
Other countries have seen success in areas like these, and it’s time the province steps up as well.