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No disruption to weekend taxi service, says Unicity

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Downtown bar patrons will be able to hail a cab tonight.

Gurmail Mangat, president of the Unicity Taxi board of directors, said today that tonight's threat to withdraw services to patrons of downtown bars, nightclubs and hotels has been called off after a meeting was scheduled with Mayor Sam Katz next Thursday.

"Before this nobody had communicated with us," Mangat said.

"As we understand that the mayor is not available this week we have decided to continue service as usual for the time being."

Mangat said any further action would depend on the results of next week's meeting, but he said it would not include a boycott of downtown service next Friday.

"I can assure the public we are not those kind of people."

Mayor Sam Katz said earlier Friday he would have preferred if Winnipeg cab companies brought their concerns about parking directly to the city.

Katz said he has yet to connect with cab company representatives who sent all media outlets a letter complaining about their inability to park outside nightclubs -- and alleging mistreatment by police.

The mayor said he has exchanged voice messages with cab representatives. He also said all Winnipeggers who go out drinking should have designated drivers and joked he will pick up intoxicated reporters who call his mobile phone tonight.

But Gurmail Mangat, said today he hasn’t heard anything from either the mayor’s office or police.

"We have two problems: one is with council and the other one only the police can do it... we are frustrated," said Mangat. "We are angry. We are mad."

Mangat said the cabbies want to see loading zones around bars and hotels extended into the evening and they also want police to stop ticketing cab drivers who are picking up or dropping off customers while not stopped properly, including stopping in no-stopping zones.

Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill said Thursday there is no police crackdown on cabs.

Today the chief said a police inspector has called cab officials.

The mayor also said he would have preferred to sit down with the cab officials.

The city is amenable to the idea of establishing more taxi stands, Katz said, referring to a report that came to council in 2011.

Cab companies have alleged a crackdown outside nightclubs before.

History

Updated on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM CDT: Adds response from Unicity Taxi.

3:02 PM: Updates with taxi service remaining normal this weekend

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