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Group wants Calgary taxi policy reviewed

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A flawed twenty-five year-old taxi supply/demand ratio may be the reason for long taxi waits in downtown Calgary. In the first of its public education seminars held last week, Voters For Taxis poked holes in the cab industry's argument for the current regulations. The group reviewed historical data of the number of taxis and noted the ratio of 1:900, used by the local companies, was calculated incorrectly.

Voters for Taxis head Sandy Jenkins further explained that all such calculations, even when properly conducted, are illegitimate.

"They like the Calgary number because it suits their purposes, by preserving the value of their licences," said Jenkins. "The reality is, there is no number that guarantees good cab service given our current taxi business model."

Jenkins explained that the city should consider different options, such as new performance standards and more efficient regulations.

The Calgary city council directed the Taxi Limousine Advisory Committee to look at possibilities such as establishing a new formula based on a per capita indicator, for ruling on new licences.

"Voters for Taxis would like to see a review of wait times for taxi pick ups and wait times for calls to be answered," said Jenkins. "We would also like to see an accounting of how many cabs are on the road late at night."

Jenkins explained the Voters for Taxis members have attended all the TLAC monthly meetings since last October to ensure more public input on the issue. He said the group was started by concerned citizens well-versed with taxi regulations and wanting to resolve the taxi shortage.

"This issue is tough slogging, but we are making some progress," said Jenkins. "City Council has directed TLAC to research taxi supply and demand and report to them in June."

Voters for Taxis members are planning on making the taxi shortage an election issue in October 2010.

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