New safety measures for city taxis following 2013 murder

Photo: CTV News

Mayor Denis Coderre presented a new plan on Monday to increase security for taxi drivers in the city.

The city says the new industry standards are designed to keep both taxi drivers and the public safe as well as modernize Montreal's taxi industry.

The mayor put a heavy emphasis on the mandatory installation of security cameras in all Montreal taxis.

He says he's hoping to have the policies put in place by August with cameras installed by the end of 2014.

While some might see a camera in every taxi as a privacy concern, Coderre said only police investigators will have access to the footage and it will not be viewed unless a taxi driver or passenger is involved in a police investigation.

“I say it often and I repeat, taxi drivers are our ambassadors, and they are important contributors to mobility in Montreal. Let’s give them the framework they need for their safety and for assuring first rate customer service,” Coderre said in a press release.

In May the city's taxi commission released a report that highlighted the need for security cameras in taxis to better protect drivers.

The plan also sets out to standardize the look of taxis in the city. Coderre hopes to bring a uniform colour to all taxis like you would see in New York City.

There was no word given on how much the changes would cost taxpayers, but the mayor said these changes are mandatory and a fund will be set up.

Ads will also be installed in vehicles to help pay for the changes.

"We are currently working on scenarios for funding to support the implementation of measures and reduce the financial burden on members," said transportation city official Aref Salem in the release. "There is a desire from within the industry to present a stronger, more professional image."

Edgard El-Kalaani of the Montreal Taxi Owners Association told CJAD News these security measures are important, but how they will be financed is of big concern.

"The financial situation of taxi owners is very bad" El-Kalaani said, adding he was happy with the Mayors announcement of the fund to be set up, and the additional revenue from advertisments being put inside the cars.

The mayor's pledge for improved safety measures for city taxis come in the wake of the November 2013 murder of taxi driver Ziad Bouzid.

The 45-year-old man was found dead in his car after midnight in Côte-des-Neiges.

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