Monday, March 05, 2007

Halifax Taxis

Halifax taxis are absurd. For some reason, cab drivers there are legally obligated to keep their lights on even when they have a fare. If you've ever tried to flag a taxi there on a cold night then you'll know the frequent dissapointment of full-but-lit cabs passing you by. But this isn't the greatest absurdity. If you read David Rhodenheiser's column today in the Daily News, he points out that taxi licenses - i.e. the right to possess a taxi number - sell for just $50 a year. And they are owned for life. Yet, taxis are being leased for as much as $500 a month. Now, in a bout of economic illiteracy, Rhodenheiser suggests that this is leading to the exploitation of cab drivers who are paying the $500 a month to lease the licenses. Of course it is no such thing, as these drivers are neither compelled nor coerced into leasing the licenses. Rather, the travesty is that the Halifax council would price so meagerly a commodity which is obviously of much greater value. What should be occurring, of course, is that Halifax taxpayers should be receiving the market rate for every cab which is on the road, which is apparently about 120 times what they are receiving now. But what do you expect from a city that goes so far as to force cab lights to stay on when the cab is taken?

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