TRURO - The owner of a local cab company is wondering why the Town of Truro and the County of Colchester cannot get their act together regarding the creation of a joint, taxi bylaw.
© HARRY SULLIVAN – TRURO DAILY NEWS
George MacDonald, owner of Layton’s Taxi in Truro is frustrated by long delays in having a joint taxi bylaw drafted between the town and the County of Colchester.
And each time he tries to talk to someone about the issue, the blame for the delay is put on the other municipality, said George MacDonald of Layton’s Taxi.
“That’s the runaround I’ve been getting for the past 17 month’s I guess. We’ve been playing around for 17 months with this foolishness and apparently these two entities can’t seem to get together to turn around and hash something out,” he said.
“It’s getting completely ridiculous out here. I know for a fact there’s a van out here running around with a two-way radio in it. They’re not licensed as a taxi but they’re picking up calls and using it as a taxi service and getting away with it.”
Truro currently has a taxi bylaw while Colchester does not. In January, 2012, however, Colchester Mayor Bob Taylor reported to council that draft legislation for a joint taxi bylaw was than 90 per cent complete, but that it needed some fine tuning so that it could “mirror” the town’s bylaw.
The issue was raised at the last County of Colchester council meeting by Councillor Tom Taggart, who along with Coun. Christine Blair, serves as a representative on a joint committee with the town that is tasked with creating the terms for a common bylaw for the two communities.
MacDonald said not having a bylaw in the county has created an unfair system for the two legitimate cab companies that operate out of Truro and which are subject to licenses and fees that operators outside of the town’s boundaries, or those who do not wish to play within the rules, do not have to pay.
“So that’s what this is about,” he said, of the push for a joint bylaw. “To make sure everybody is on a level playing field. And that’s exactly what it is.”
During the county council meeting, Taggart said he had been recently approached by MacDonald who asked him why the county was holding up the process. Taggart said he did not believe that to be the case.
“I want to know if I’ve missed something here,” he told council, a position that was echoed by Blair.
“We brought it up a number of times and there have been a number of contacts and requests (to the town)
and nothing definite (came back in response),” she said.
Taylor said he has also tried to address the issue but after a number of meetings “continually were cancelled by people from the town of Truro,” the matter “just drifted.”
“But somebody at the Town of Truro is deflecting that blame on us, which is not right,” he said.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills, meanwhile, said the impression he has received from town staff, also indicated that his municipality was not to blame for the delay.
“I’ve been told the same thing, that we’re waiting on the county,” he said. “That just could be a communication thing. I will look into that.”
MacDonald said he just wants to have the issue dealt with so that any taxi operating within the town or its immediate surroundings are all subject to the same rules and regulations.
“It’s just a complete, complete runaround. And they expect my business to stay, in the perspective of being licensed and safety inspected, and have my drivers up to par and what have you. Yet they don’t want to do anything for the taxi business whatsoever. So it just frustrates the hell out of me,” he said.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. They feel taxis around here are, I don’t know, the bottom of the list, I guess.
It’s an industry. It’s a big part of this town. If I shut my business down for one day, see how many people are going to scream to the town because 65 per cent of my business is made up by senior citizens, who absolutely need these taxis.”