Taking a taxi in Montreal may never be the same, thanks to a whack load of new regulations passed by the City of Montreal's city council that were passed last night, reports Radio-Canada. Slated to come into effect at the dawn of the new year (so January 1st), the new rules for taxi drivers are a mix of sensible and straight up nonsensical.

Lets start with what actually works:

  • Mandatory training for all taxi drivers in the city, ideally raising the level of quality of all cab rides.
  • Security cameras installed in the back seats of almost the entire taxi fleet. Access to each camera's recordings will be limited to the SPVM.

Both are pretty sound and sensible regulations. Regulated training is a no-brainer, and it's a wonder that the city didn't have a like course in place already. Having the camera in the back of a cabbie seems a bit extreme, and costly, but in the end, the surveillance system is there to protect both drivers and riders.

Then there's the weird new rules that's making us lightly scratch our heads:

  • A dress code will be enforced. During the winter months drivers will need to wear pants with a white or black shirt and closed-toe shoes. Between May and September, all cabbies will sport black shirts and a white polo shirt.
  • Drivers need to get out of their cars and open the door for riders when picking them up, and do the same when the rider leaves.

Yeah, those two are a little random. Seems like the city is essentially trying to transform cab drivers into pseudo-chauffeurs.

Apparently the dress code is being instated to boost the public image of cab drivers in the city. But, um, who cares? When a cab driver is assaulting or harassing someone in the back seat, as was the case with many women last year (not to mention the plethora of unreported cases) I don't think the fact that the driver is wearing cute black shorts is going to make the situation any better.

Opening and closing the door for patrons is another bit of strange. What happens when a cab driver is picking someone up on a busy street? The policy only applies if the rider called them in using an app or by phone, as clarified by La Presse, but that doesn't really remove the inherent strangeness of the mandate.

I've called cabs on high-traffic streets, and I'm not about to wait an extra five minutes for a safe moment for the driver to open the door for me, or have them get hurt on my account. Seriously, no one here is a Victorian lord or lady; I don't think having the door opened is going to make or break a cab ride.

Any cab driver who is doesn't follow these new mandates could be fined $125 to $375. How strictly these rules, and subsequent fines, will be enforced remains to be seen, but I hope no cab driver gets a $300 bill just because they're not wearing the right kind of shirt.

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