WINNIPEG — The deadline for city cabbies to have enhanced safety shields installed has been extended again.
The new deadline will be early in the new year, Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said late Friday
The move comes after Ashton received an engineer’s report on two versions of the shields.
Ashton said concerns raised in the report means there has to be more discussion with the industry over the best way to proceed.
The Manitoba Taxicab Board had already extended a deadline for city taxi companies to install new shields following opposition from Unicity Taxi over designs.
That deadline was to expire Monday.
The original board order required Winnipeg cabs to be outfitted with new shields by Nov. 1.
Unicity refused to comply, citing concerns over the ability of drivers to adjust their seats or escape their taxis in the event of an emergency.
Unicity board president Gurmail Mangat has said the company will follow the recommendations of the engineer.
Mangat said Friday he was pleased the deadline extension.
The extension was also necessary because the companies selling the shields were having a difficult time keeping up with demand.
However, the owners of those companies have told the Free Press the materials for the shields are ready, but taxi owners have been slow to get them. Both companies have rejected design concerns as unfounded.
Besides the L-shield, drivers have the option of installing a full shield separating the front and back of the taxi. Taxis with the full shields won’t be able to carry passengers in the front, which has drawn concern from the industry and the maker of the shield.
Cabs are also equipped with interior cameras and warning beacons.
Updated on Friday, November 26, 2010 at 4:25 PM CST: Decision released