News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg taxi drivers now have to post photo ID in cars

The new ID will include a driver’s photo, the cab's license number and the expiration date. Before, only the driver’s name and the Manitoba licence code were displayed.

A Duffy's taxi is seen in this Metro file photo.

A Duffy's taxi is seen in this Metro file photo.

Taxi passengers in Winnipeg will soon get a clearer look at their drivers from the back seat.

The Manitoba Taxicab Board says that by April 1, all drivers must have photo identification and their taxicab licence number visibly posted in vehicles.

The board sent a notice to all dispatch companies in January, following a decision quietly made last November, recommending mandatory in-car photo ID.

“This change is aimed at increasing driver and passenger safety and provide the passenger a way to confirm that their driver is licensed by the taxicab board,” the letter reads.

The change applies to all taxis, limousines, handi-cab vans, and accessible taxis.

On Thursday, a request for an interview with a board spokesperson was not returned by press deadline.

According to the board’s letter, new licences are currently being issued to all drivers.

The new licence will include a taxicab driver’s photo, licence number and date of expiry. Currently, a licence only displays a driver’s name and Manitoba licence code.

Gurmail Mangat, president of Unicity Taxi, said drivers' names won't be included in the new licences so as to protect their privacy. That was a sticking point among some in the industry when the mandatory photo ID issue was previously raised.

Michael Diamond, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Taxi Alliance, believes there’s no reason the industry shouldn't welcome this change, saying all it does is provide passengers with a “bit more peace of mind.”

He said the photo ID rule varies between Canadian cities.

A recently released industry review, compiled by MNP LLP,  offered 40 recommendations for ways to improve service in the city, some of which focused on making cabs feel safer. 

“Passengers need to be able to identify their driver if an issue arises so a proper complaint can be filed and investigated,” the report reads.

“Photo ID will provide the essential information required for complaint reporting and follow-up, with the potential of increasing accountability for drivers and facilitating on-road inspection."

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