Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City taxis to get new in-car cameras

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THE 80 seasonal taxicabs that hit the streets of Winnipeg Thursday will feature the newest taxi camera technology.

The Manitoba Taxicab Board recently made a decision to approve the use of VerifEye Technologies cameras and Unicity, Duffy's and Spring taxi companies have about 520 of the units on order.

Every taxicab in the city will need to have the new cameras installed by Oct. 1, 2010.

The taxis companies are hoping to underwrite the cost of the new cameras with a fare increase.

An application is before the Taxicab Board to increase the initial "meter drop" rate by 30 cents from $3.30 to $3.60.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 2 to hear the pros and cons from interested parties on the fare increase proposal.

Taxicab Board secretary Jerry Kozubal said the last rate increase came last year and was attributed to fuel cost increases.

Kozubal said new cameras are necessary because the old ones -- Honeywell Fareview cameras that has been used in metered taxicabs since 2002 -- are no longer in production and cannot be serviced.

Terry Walker, VerifEye's sales and marketing vice-president, said its cameras are installed in most of the largest taxi fleets in the largest cities of North America and Australia.

"This is the fourth generation of the technology and each generation lasts about three years," Walker said. "Winnipeg taxi companies installed their previous system in 2002 so they are moving up two generations with this purchase."

The cameras will shoot images as slow as one frame every 10 seconds, up to as fast as eight frames a second. The camera has enough memory capacity to store seven days' worth of images.

Kozubal said the cameras are there are for the protection of both drivers and passengers.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 30, 2009 B4

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