Photo cred - Bob Beyer
You open the door, and enter an enclosed space where one person dictates your fate, as they pilot two tonnes of steel, with you left completely helpless in the back seat. A little over dramatic, but that is essentially the situation each and every time you get into a cab in Montreal.
Passengers literally put their lives in the hands of a taxi driver during every ride, and the scary part is, a cabbie could be anyone, with the past of a saint or criminal. The latter is much more terrifying, which is why the background history of every taxi driver should be extensively checked, a practice not enacted in Montreal or Quebec.
After a series of sexual harassment stories involving Montreal women in taxis hit newstreams, the provincial government clued in that screening cab drivers is kind of a necessity.
Actually, before any press on the safety of Montreal women in cabs was released, Quebec's Transport Minister Robert Poëti had no idea Quebec cabbies weren't screened. CBC quotes Poëti was "shocked" at the lack of background checks (something he really should have known about) and is now all for implementing a screening process.
Montreal's taxi bureau is on board as well, and apparently has been for years. General director of the bureau Benoit Jugand told CBC that the City of Montreal approved of cabbie-checks a few years ago, but were waiting for a Quebec-approved screening process from the provincial government, which evidently never came.
If the Quebec government takes much longer, the Montreal taxi bureau and the City of Montreal may need to create their own screening process, an initiative Jugand is all for.
CBC points out that Quebec law does not allow anyone who has been convicted of a crime in the last five years to become a cabbie. A sound regulation, which has apparently never been enforced because of confusion as to which government body is actually accountable.
Hearing some of the horror stories that Montreal women have faced over the years (like masturbating cabbies) it seems like a no-brainer that background checks are needed. Why cabbie-screening weren't a thing from the get-go remains an unnerving mystery.
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