Saint John cracks down on taxis' rearview-mirror knickknacks

Saint John — Taxi rides in Saint John are about to change, and not necessarily for the better. Saint John City Council recently introduced a bylaw that is putting pressure on taxi drivers to clean up their cars — or risk having their licences pulled.

taxi2Bylaw M-12-1, ostentatiously designed to “pretty up the cabs cruising the Port City,” will see a reduction in the number and types of items that can be hung on vehicles’ rear-view mirrors. Beginning later this year, cabbies will only be allowed to display the following on their rearview mirrors:

  • 3 different air fresheners (i.e., Pine Tree); or
  • 2 air fresheners and one pair of fuzzy dice; or
  • 1 air freshener and 1 pair of women’s panties; or
  • A combination of miscellaneous items of religious, social or political significance not covering an area of more than 7.35 square inches.

While council admits that they have received no complaints from tourists or the general public, they feel that the unnecessary accoutrements are a distraction to passengers. “We want to encourage everyone riding around the city to experience the enjoyment of sticking their head out the window and breathing in the unique bouquet that is the ‘Saint John air,'” said Coun. Greg Norton.

Many taxi drivers are enraged by the new legislation.

“I need my McDonald’s Happy Meal toy hanging by a string from my mirror!” said Grant McCurdy, a taxi driver who gets most of his customers by parking next to the market in uptown Saitnt John. “This is an authentic McDonald’s toy replica of the slinky dog from Toy Story. I tell me customers all about it, and I just know that that’s why I get 25 cents more of a tip than my buddies.”

The Manatee reporters polled members of city council and determined that none had ever actually ridden in a city cab before, but had watched the popular 1970s sitcom Taxi, which they felt was a fair approximation.

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