Taxi cab as spotted by Kai Nagata
Eagle-eyed CBC reporter Kai Nagata spotted this cab, whose owner had added the word “TAXI” in black marker on top of a Telus ad.
This demonstrates probably more than anything else a flaw in this new, standardized design currently being phased in for all Montreal cabs: It’s not obvious, particularly from the side, that they’re cabs.
This is ironic, of course, because the entire point was to make cabs more identifiable. The city had considered making all cabs the same colour, but decided against that (at least for now), because it would be a huge expense to repaint every cab some hideous colour. So instead, they have a small decal printed near the back and a giant ad sign on top. The front of that ad monstrosity has a two-dimensional sign to mimic the former roof light with the logo of the cab company.
I don’t have an issue with ads on taxis, and I don’t think most people do either, but there should be a redesign to make it clear what these cars are. Including the (lit up) word “TAXI” on all four sides would be a good start.
Traffic sign gives taxis special privileges at Peel and René Lévesque
So what is it about taxis, anyway, that gives them all this special treatment on our roads? Above, left turns are prohibited on René Lévesque Blvd. in order to keep traffic flowing smoothly. But taxis, for some reason, are exempt from this rule. So if a taxi wants to turn left, it can just sit there in the middle of the intersection waiting for an opportunity to do so.
But what’s more frustrating is that taxis get to use Montreal’s reserved bus lanes, whether or not they are carrying any passengers. Why is that? Are taxis considered small buses? Does a taxi carrying one person pollute less than a personal car carrying one person? Are taxis so vital to the economy that they should be exempt from downtown traffic?
My attempts to find an explanation have so far been fruitless. As far as I can tell, the reasoning behind it is the same as that which gives newspapers an exemption from Canada’s Do Not Call List regulations: Taxis have a very powerful lobby.