A new service that will transfer seniors to and from doctor appointments is hoping to open in St. Paul. The intent is to operate similar to a chauffeur service, pick seniors up, drive them to appointment, either in town or out of town, and drive them home. The company is ready start taking passengers and plans to operate under the name, DASH. There’s only one issue in the way, the Taxi Bylaw.
The Town of St. Paul’s Taxi Bylaw requires the operator of this business to carry a Taxi licence, as well as, a sign on the vehicle stating that it is a Taxi. However, this service is not a taxi. In a letter addressed to Town Council, Jeff Dubuis on behalf of his son Christian (who would be the business owner and operator of the vehicle) states, “operating a taxi is clearly not what we have proposed or have in mind.”
There are a few issues with obtaining a Taxi License, including the sign on the vehicle. DASH doesn’t want to transport the everyday public and believes having a “Taxi” sign on the vehicle would be misleading. There is also an issue with the cost comparison of obtaining a taxi licence, as opposed to a regular business license, as well as a Taxi drivers licence and permit would be required to operate the vehicle.
Dubuis spoke in front of Council last week for the need of the service, stating that several non-profits, businesses, and volunteer groups have been helping the process along. There is a lack of seniors transportation services in the area, stated Dubuis.
Town Council agreed there was a growing need for the service and appeared to be very receptive of the idea of the service, however could not determine whether or not a Taxi licence was necessary. With the knowledge that Town Bylaw had already directed DASH to obtain a Taxi Licence, the Town decided to direct Administration to come back to Council with options; including, creating a new Bylaw to suit services such as DASH.