Taxi Drivers Survey
Halifax Association of County Zone Cab Drivers
H.I.A.A. Taxi Drivers Committee
Halifax Taxi Drivers Association
May 9, 2006
This survey was started in March 2006 in response to provincial and municipal concerns for taxi driver safety. There was a planned move by the Provincial Department of Labour to influence FIRM to consider going beyond the status quo of this time which is that taxi drivers have a free choice whether or not to install safety devices such as cameras and shields in their cars. Many of the drivers voiced concern over this potential change of policy. This concern has led the representative organizations to undertake this survey.
Just prior to the decision to do this survey the HTDA Executive Committee had some revealing insights into how the policy makers view the taxi business in HRM. On March 8, 2006 HTDA executives met with Mr. Vince Gamier. Mr. Gamier is Provincial Manager of Inspection and Compliance Services, Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Department of Labour. From this meeting it was learned that policies were being considered from the standpoint that all taxi drivers did the same job and all were equally at risk.
It was pointed out at this meeting that there are at least three distinct types of taxi businesses and likewise three distinct exposures to risk. Mr. Gamier was most helpful when he learned of this reality. It was he who brought forward the concept of risk assessment which is featured as part of this survey.
There will be a more complete explanation under the heading of Risk Assessment. For this preview, it is worth noting that taxi driver risk in HRM falls into three categories: extremely low risk, medium risk and high risk.
This survey was issued with approximately 500 copies distributed in the 3 zones of the County, Dartmouth and Halifax. There were 211 completed surveys returned as of May 9, 2006. The total number of taxi roof lights in HRM is 1000. With the acknowledgment that a small number of roof lights cover more than one driver, we can say statistics drawn from the survey are based on returns from approximately 21% of the drivers in HRM. Commonly, a survey will draw only 1500 samples from a population of 300,000 to test public opinion. This represents .05% of that population and allows statisticians to claim their normal degree of accuracy. Their accuracy is correct to within three percentage points, plus or minus, 27 out of 28
times. This survey, because of the high sample rate, near 21%, can confidently claim accuracy approaching that of polling professionals.
There is an anomaly associated with this survey which must be addressed in this preview. It was noticed that responses were very low from Dartmouth with only 7% of surveys returned. The reason for this low rate of return is that there is no active drivers’ association in the Dartmouth Zone. Further complicating that problem is that there is no designated taxi driver representative from the Dartmouth Zone on the Taxi and Limousine Advisory Committee who might have acted as a survey coordinator.
As mentioned earlier, survey returns equaled a total of 211. There were 216 returns with 5 spoiled and rejected. In this survey most answers to questions 1 though 5 do not create 211 ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘undecided’ totals. This is because of skipped or undecipherable responses. The statistics in this report are based on totals of responses to individual questions rather than on the number of 211 surveys returned.
SHOULD TAXI COMPANIES BE REQUIRED TO TRAIN THEIR DISPATCHERS IN RESPONDING TO EMERGENCY SITUATIONS?
SHOULD SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS BE MANDATORY?
SHOULD PROTECT WE SHIELDS BE MANDATORY?
IF YES TO EITHER OF THE ABOVE, DO YOU REQUIRE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PURCHASE AND INSTALL SAFETY EQUIPMENT?
TO PAY FOR SAFETY EQUIPMENT, WOULD YOU AGREE TO ADDING AN EXTRA SURCHARGE ON THE METER?
This survey does not make claim to a scientific statistical analysis of the risk to taxi drivers in HRM. Although the concept of risk assessment is a sound one there was neither time nor expertise to adequately explore the area. A true risk assessment would be done more comprehensively than by a survey. It would involve the entire work force of taxi drivers and would be a worthy project for HRM or the province to sponsor.
The values in this survey placed on risk are arbitrary but are based on two historically excepted principals in our business. First, night drivers are at the highest risk in HRM Second, day drivers, airport drivers and prearranged drivers have negligible risk. We wanted to make it clear to policy makers that two extremes exist and that blanket policies for safety are not justified. This section on risk assessment serves that purpose.
Drivers were asked to evaluate, from their work routine, their approximate risk from the risk assessment portion of the survey. On our scale highest risk was designated ‘10’ and lowest risk ‘1’.
Risk values are derived from the charts on the survey. Percentages that follow fall into three risk categories between ‘1’ and ‘10’.
Risk Assessment Survey Data
LOW RISK VALUES 1 to 3.5..55% of drivers surveyed
MEDIUM VALUES 3.6 to 6.5...15.6% of drivers surveyed
HIGH RISK VALUES 6.6 to 10...29.4% of drivers surveyed
Note: The lowest risk assessment values were seen with the survey returns from Airport Licensed drivers. Their risk value averaged 1.7. One criticism of this survey was that there was no value lower than one. If the value had been subdivided there would have been an even lower score in this group. There is justification for this suggestion. In a telephone interview with Mr. Wayne Black of the Halifax International Airport Authority and member of the Taxi and Limousine Advisory Committee on April 28, 2006 he stated that there was no record of violence to any taxi driver whose fare originated at the Halifax International Airport.
There are many observations and suggestions heard while doing this survey. One that stands out was from an interview with Kim Demont, manager of Bobs’ Taxi in Dartmouth. She summarized the feelings of many of the drivers when she suggested that an immediate review of police and 911 response procedures should be undertaken. She recounted examples of Dartmouth taxi drivers’ experiences that truly suggested dialogue and negotiation be opened with HRM Police.
This survey shows also that those who would benefit from protection would be protected sooner with financial assistance to do so.
Before closing we would like policy makers to consider one other thing. In reference to the risk assessment we have combined the percentages for drivers at medium risk and high risk to show the total of 45%. Also 55% of drivers are exposed to negligible risk. This suggests again that there are those who would benefit from safety equipment and those to whom it would be useless.
There is no doubt about the outcome of this survey. Taxi drivers in HRM want to maintain the status quo. They want to have a free choice whether or not to have safety shields and cameras in their cars.
Original Concept Bob Richards
Original Draft Garry Jollymore
Final Draft Halifax Taxi Drivers Association, Halifax International Airport Taxi Committee, Halifax Association of County Cabs
Survey Design Lynn Isnor
Stats Crew Dave Fitzgerald
Word Processing and Editing Carol Jollymore
Distribution Thanks to Kim Demont of Bobs’ Taxi,
Office of Yellow Cab,
Office of Casino Taxi,
Office of Satellite Taxi,
Special Thanks to Richard Kellerman and Carl Diamond