The Last Cowboy
By Kimberly Berry
Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the
Master of Arts, Atlantic Canada Studies at
Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Copyright by Kimberly Berry 1997
18 April 1997
Posted on the Taxi-Library web site by permission of the author
During the last few decades the study of labour history in Canada has included a genre designated as the "cultural approach." Inspired by E.P. Thompson's Making of the English Working Class, this approach was adapted to American workers by writers such as Herbert Gutman.1 The Canadian proponents of cultural analysis follow the British & American interpretations in asserting a distinct and separate working-class culture. Bryan Palmer, a leading proponent of cultural analysis of the Canadian working class, presents a concise argument for the existence of a distinct working class experience and culture. "Culture ... is part of an interpretive framework that builds on recognition of the limitations imposed on experience by economic constraint."2 Working class culture, therefore, fits the definition of "behaviours and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group."3 Palmer claims that working class cultural distinctiveness rests on the "hard realities and persistent antagonisms of the wage relation and exploitation common to all workers."4
The tradition of cultural analysis in Canada is similar to that in the United States. Two America historians who adopt a cultural interpretation are Herbert Gutman and Susan Porter Benson. Both define culture, according to Sidney W. Mintz, as "a kind of resource" as opposed to society which is a "kind of arena."5 Benson elaborates on Mintz's definition, and defines culture as a "set of frameworks, attitudes, and accepted standards of behaviour that one draws upon in dealing with society."6
Benson uses examples of shop floor dialect, disobedience, the sharing of lunches, and collections for underpaid co-workers to demonstrate the work culture of department store saleswomen.7 Similarly, Palmer examines an earlier, although overlapping, period in Canadian history. He uses examples of friendly societies, institutes, baseball teams, picnics, banquets, dances, and other festivities to demonstrate working class culture.8 Although there is a distinction between Benson's "work" culture and Palmer's "working-class" culture, both look at manifestations of community action to demonstrate that workers have a common culture. Benson does not directly address working-class culture although she documents the work culture of department store saleswomen, and describes the social distance between them and middle class customers. The extension of Benson's analysis is that the customers and saleswomen belong to distinct class cultures, and use social distance to confirm the division between working class and middle class culture. Palmer would certainly go further with the same evidence; however, both accept the importance of a shared experience in the development of work culture.
Some skeptics of the "cultural approach" argue that the working class does not have a monopoly on group behaviour. As Ramsay Cook points out, middle class groups often participate in friendly societies and social events.9 Middle class behaviour often includes the same community functions as the working class. David Bercuson, an outspoken critic of the cultural approach and Marxism in particular, asserts that "merchants, clerks, professionals, and propertied men all belonged to friendly societies."10 The middle class most certainly also attended funerals and sporting events. However, the presence of similar community behaviour does not, in itself, indicate that there is not a significant social distance between classes. Palmer reminds the critics to "consider the extent to which capital and state ... saw the working class as a dangerously coherent whole."11
Bercuson challenges cultural analysis in other ways. He contends that workers are more divided than united by skill and along ethnic, religious, and gender lines. Of the American working class, he contends that "the variety of ethnic origins ... makes a cultural analysis confusing and essentially meaningless.12 In relation to the Canadian working class, he suggests that the new labour historians must first prove that
Canadian workers, men and women, skilled and unskilled, were bound by a common culture that was primarily the product of their class experience before they can use culture to explain anything.13
Palmer acknowledges the divisions among the working class but asserts that the cultural distinctiveness - which rests on the hard realities and persistent antagonisms of the wage relation and exploitation - is never totally dismissed by these divisions.
No religious affiliation, ethnic identification, political cross-class party, skill distinction, regional context, or gender gulf will override this [working class culture] totally.14
It is abundantly clear that the social relations and experiences of the worker are influenced by a number of factors. Beyond class, one's experience is shaped by gender, religion, and ethnicity. What also seems clear is that proponents of the cultural analysis are sensitive to the influence of all factors. In an effort to challenge the culturist approach, critics like Bercuson have understated the importance of common experience among the working class.
One member of the working-class population that has been largely ignored in labour history and the recent cultural analysis is the taxi driver. Although the historical literature on Canadian taxi drivers is sparse one can locate a significant amount of related material.
American studies of the taxi industry are numerous. Most are sociological studies based on participant observation and many are unpublished. It is common for sociology researchers to participate as a member of the group they are observing; for example, by operating a taxi while collecting their data. This technique is known as participant observation. Peculiar to this approach is the benefit of experience, by which researchers gain first hand knowledge of the work experience of their subjects. Perhaps more importantly, these studies document the worker behaviour and culture from the perspective of labour unlike employer records or government documents. Sociological studies offer the documentation of work culture from within the work environment, even though they often do not address the issue of work culture directly.
A number of unpublished master's theses and doctoral dissertations are based on participant observation, including those by Richard Schlosberg and James Henslin.15 Both of Schlosberg's studies are based on data obtained while working as a New York taxi driver, through a combination of observation and interviewing. Henslin's participant observation took place in St. Louis, Missouri, and involved the use of a hidden tape recorder to gather much of the data.16
Predating both Henslin and Schlosberg by more than fifteen years is a dissertation by Charles Morris.17 Morris's 1950-51 study was based on a series of interviews with seventy-two New York cab drivers, and does not involve participant observation. Morris explores the criteria for occupational choice among cab drivers in New York and asserts that for them the "single most important criterion which work should satisfy ... is that of providing an adequate income."18 Morris suggests the emphasis on earning a living may be a result of the group's minimal marketable assets.19 Although Morris recognizes that taxi driving does not satisfy the work values of the drivers20 he does not make any class or cultural analysis regarding the lack of work satisfaction. He does, however, suggest that the drivers lack "the unique set of forces required" to achieve distant occupational goals. Although economics and environment are recognized as factors, Morris implies that in the end it is the failure of the individual that leads to occupational dissatisfaction:
It appears that, to the extent that these drivers have the capacity for higher level occupational achievement, their values are not such as to lead them to postpone early gratifications in the hope of achieving high occupational goals in the future, even though they possess, in some degree work values akin to those of middle class families. The unique set of forces required to set in motion long range planning for distant occupational goals in an individual from an economically and socially deprived environment has not been operative in the case of these drivers.21
Although Morris implies that drivers share a distinct economic and social environment -one which is "deprived"- he does not approach them as members of a working class who share a common culture. His analysis portrays the driver as occupationally incompetent, condemned to job dissatisfaction because of a character flaw.
Schlosberg also studies "occupational tension," but is more sensitive to factors of class. In his unpublished master's thesis, "A Descriptive Analysis of the New York City Taxi Industry," Schlosberg explores adjustment techniques used by taxi drivers to function in the taxi industry. Adjustment techniques are behaviours or attitudes employed by drivers as they attempt to adjust to the tensions in their work. Schlosberg classifies the drivers' adjustment techniques according to Erving Goffman's definitions of "primary" and "secondary" adjustment in his study of patients in a mental hospital.22 Schlosberg contends that New York City taxi drivers are divided according to age, education, and ethnicity but all share a common dissatisfaction with their occupation. He contends that the different groups of drivers displayed different behaviours in their attempts to cope with occupational dissatisfaction. By comparing his findings with a study of lower class blue collar workers in California,23 Schlosberg places the taxi driver within the larger community of the working class. Cohen and Hodges described a powerless, victim-like trait that ran through the personalities of the lower class blue-collar workers they studied.24 Schlosberg thus makes a stronger connection between taxi drivers and other members of the working class than does Morris.
In his dissertation Schlosberg continues in the same vein and increasingly focuses on issues of class and exploitation.25 He sees the taxi industry as a class system and asserts that analysis of class relations will explain driver behaviour. For Schlosberg the class structure of the industry, the method of remuneration, and the exploitation of drivers by fleet owners and dispatchers result in the driver's efforts to ensure a better income and their attempts to escape their occupational role. Schlosberg challenges the interpretation of other writers, including Henslin, for emphasizing and isolating the relationship between driver and passenger. He submits that the "exploitation that the driver is involved in with the owner of the fleet garage is transferred to his own exploitation of his passengers."26
Authors like James Henslin, Fred Davis, and Charles Vidich expound on the exploitation of the passenger by the driver but fail to address it as a function of the relationship between driver and fleet owner. Their focus on particular driver behaviour and lack of sufficient analysis contributes to the media stereotype of the dishonest cab driver, seen by society as a "crook".
In his article, "Trust and the Cab Driver," Henslin describes the criteria used by cab drivers to determine whether to accept or reject an individual as a passenger. The driver measures the passenger according to factors including sex, age, ethnicity, neighbourhood, and degree of sobriety in order to ensure payment and tip, and reduce risk of robbery.27 Henslin's account indicates that the driver is highly discriminatory when accepting passengers. Despite the thorough description of how this discrimination helps the driver to better control his or her wages and work experience, Henslin only superficially explores the causal factors for this, creating the impression that cab drivers are highly prejudiced and concerned above all else with making money.
In his article, "The Cabdriver and His Fare: Facets of a Fleeting Relationship," Fred Davis explains the importance of tips to cab drivers' incomes and explores their attempts to "reduce the uncertainty and further calculability of the tip."28 Davis differentiates taxi drivers in a large city from other service personnel because they are unable to build a clientele. The absence of regular and reliable clients contributes to the uncertainty of tips. Davis describes the typology developed by drivers to measure the character of their fares in an effort to increase the calculability of tips. Similar to Henslin's observations, Davis claims that drivers judge passengers according to appearance, assigning them a number of "types" or categories, such as: "the sport," "the blowhard," "the lady shopper," and "the live one." Davis also describes the techniques that drivers practise to increase tips, ranging from the creative to the fraudulent. Tactics like fumbling with the change, making the change in denominations which encourage a larger tip, telling the passenger a "hard luck" story, and creating extra charges are all designed to increase the size of the tip. Davis also explains the practice of tailoring the drive to fit the passenger, judging whether the passenger wants the driver to go fast and weave in and out of traffic or be talkative and entertaining.29 Davis concludes that regular customers are more likely to tip than are "non-cab users", but his main concern is not to explore why drivers are so dependent on their tip income but to establish which passengers are the best tippers.
Robert Karen's study of tipping behaviour in a suburban population found the opposite to be true: transient users displayed a greater propensity to tip than did regular users.30 Like Davis, Karen is more concerned with client than with taxi driver behaviour. Karen attempts to analyse, for example, why women tip less often than men. His explanations for this variation include "sex differences in the handling of money and role playing."31 The significance of the sex based wage gap did not figure into his analysis, although the study was done in the sixties; a time when the woman's movement was relatively vocal about the significant wage gap between the sexes.
Although Henslin, Davis, and Karen are all concerned with tipping behaviour and the efforts by drivers to ensure tips, none explicitly focused on the exploitation of the driver which Schlosberg suggests is vital to the understanding of drivers' relationship with the passenger.
David Trojan explores a different aspect of the relationship between passenger and driver. Trojan's experience driving a taxi in a small city prompted his article, "Comment on the Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service" which explores the social distance and status inconsistency between driver and passenger.32 Like Karen, Trojan drives more regular customers than does Davis and has similar conclusions about tipping behaviour. More significantly he observes the affect of class expectations on tipping. Trojan asserts that both passengers and drivers have a clear set of expectations about the social background of cab drivers. When passengers discovered that he was a university professor they became unsure of the social roles that this implied. They experienced considerable confusion about appropriate social behaviour. "As long as the taxicab driver's status was unknown or accepted as lower than the rider's social status" there was no confusion.33 Trojan's observations suggest the importance of class in determining social behaviour, including tipping. Although Trojan does not examine any relationships in terms of exploitation the assumptions about status imply that the driver is perceived as having limited power in his work and in society.
Charles Vidich turns his attention to the exploitive tendencies of the taxi driver. In his book, The New York Cab Driver and His Fare, Vidich is particularly critical.34 He attributes the image of the New York taxi driver as a "crook" to the "hack's character, his actions, and his historical reputation." Although Vidich is aware of all of the same relationships and characteristics of the taxi industry as is Schlosberg, he does not portray the driver as a victim of exploitation but as a perpetrator of passenger exploitation. For Vidich the driver is not a dissatisfied blue-collar worker, he is a "dock rat," a "night hawk," and a "common whore."35
In his article, "Union Taxis and Gypsy Cabbies," Vidich chronicles the problems with the New York taxi union and the "gypsy" drivers.36 He attributes the diminishing value of the taxi medallion to the establishment of the "gypsy" cab service. Although he recognizes that the "gypsy" taxis emerged in response to a reduction of service to poorer neighbourhoods, Vidich does not explore the issues of class and race discrimination which seem relevant to this issue.
A more sensitive approach to this complex problem is found in John Gordon's article, "In the Hot Seat: The Story of the New York Taxi Rank and File Coalition."37 Gordon described the evolution of the Rank and File Coalition, a trade association of New York taxi drivers established in the early 1970's out of a sense of frustration with the Taxi Union. Gordon explores the issue of racism in terms of the conflict between the fleet drivers and the "gypsy" drivers, who are, and service, predominately Black and Hispanic areas of the city. Gordon attributes the growth of the "gypsy" drivers to the combination of high unemployment and lack of taxi service in the area. While Vidich suggests that the declining service from regular taxis was the result of pure economics, Gordon contends that drivers stopped picking up black and Hispanic passengers because of the perceived connection with drugs and crime.38 Gordon describes how the fleet owners and the Union responded to the threat of the "gypsy" cabs with "unmerciful attacks," and more restrictive legislation.39 As a member of the Coalition, Gordon tries to examine why the Rank and File did not take a more aggressive stand in defence of the "gypsy" drivers. Although Gordon does not specifically explore the effects of class he is sensitive to issues of racism and the discrimination against certain neighbourhoods. By questioning the Rank and File position on the "gypsy" cab question Gordon implies that drivers should not have been divided according to race. In fact the division between the "gypsy" drivers and the Coalition members may have resulted more from union and fleet owner propaganda than because of ethnic divisions among drivers. Gordon says the union leaders and fleet owners only "thinly disguised their racism" while filling union papers with reports of the crimes of the gypsy drivers.40 These reports would have driven a wedge between drivers and "gypsies."
Raymond Russell also examines the role of class and ethnicity.41 In his article, "Class Formation in the Workplace," Russell addresses the question of how class can be measured in the workplace. He suggests the most important determinant of class is not the amount of income but how it is acquired; therefore, ownership is the most significant determinant of class. Russell suggests that different ownership conditions manifest different forms of "interest articulation or political expression."42 He observes that different types of ownership conditions within the Boston taxi industry correspond with different types of driver organizations. Russell concludes that commission drivers are more likely to participate in unions, owner-drivers tend to belong to cooperatives, and fleet drivers usually belong to trade associations. Russell demonstrates the importance of class analysis and the relationship between class and community political expression.
In his article, "The Role of Culture and Ethnicity in the Degeneration of Democratic Firms," Russell asserts that the collectivism found among members of the shared culture of an ethnic group can have significant positive effects on the function of democratic firms, such as co-operatives, and worker-owned enterprises. Russell concludes that cultural and ethnic links were instrumental in the establishment in two democratic taxi firms in Los Angles and their demise was largely determined by regulatory structure. The nature of the democratic firm exemplifies the importance of shared experience to collective action.
The work that stands alone is Edward Sutton's "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1936-1945."43 It is the only local examination of the industry. Although Sutton does not offer any probing analysis of taxi history, he does give a brief survey of the Halifax taxi industry and offers some insight into the conflict between the public and the drivers during World War II. Using interviews with Halifax taxi drivers Sutton offers a colourful account of the "typical" taxi stories. He describes the drivers' involvement in bootlegging and prostitution, the threat of robbery and violence, and glimpses of the indiscretions of the rich and famous.
These accounts provide interesting reading, but Sutton's main thesis is more interesting. His exploration of public criticism of the taxi industry during wartime suggests that customers' dissatisfaction stemmed mainly from the limited number of taxis available. Some customers "complained that the cabbies were too busy with their sidelines of booze and women to care about the ordinary paying customer."44 Although Sutton does not explore the nature of this stereotype, he dismisses it as a valid explanation. Instead, he suggests that the taxi shortage resulted from the shortage of car parts, especially tires, during the war. Although Halifax taxi drivers were criticized for being "arrogant profiteer[s]," Sutton concludes they were simply making the best of a difficult situation.
Although these authors do not directly address the working class history of the taxi driver the material suggests there is ample room for cultural analysis of taxi driver history. In his criticism, Bercuson argues that working class culture cannot explain anything.45 However, much of the sociological material suggests otherwise. In the case of the Rank and File Coalition and the gypsy drivers there is fertile soil for culturist debate. Although Gordon does not examine the material in that context an exploration of racism as a tool to divide workers rather than a naturally occurring division of the working class seems inviting. According to Russell's analysis, it seems that culture explains a great deal. Russell contents that class explains the type of political association drivers in Boston belong to, and culture is an explanation for the success or failure of democratic firms. It also appears, according to Schlosberg, that work culture goes a long way toward explaining occupational adjustment and behaviour. Labour historians will benefit by taking the cultural debate of working class history into the realm of the taxi driver.
An examination of the Halifax taxi industry may provide the starting point for this much-needed analysis. Although there is very little secondary material, numerous primary sources are available. The Halifax City Council has historically been responsible for the regulation of the industry, and the Council minutes document the regulatory evolution of the local industry. The minutes of the Halifax Taxi Commission also offer a documentation of changes and conflicts within the industry. Unfortunately these sources were recorded by and for the regulatory bodies; therefore, they do not offer much insight into the drivers' point of view. They are not, however, void of driver input. Driver representatives have been active on the Taxi Commission, and drivers have submitted numerous submissions and petitions which have been recorded in these sources. Although the minutes are not an entirely unbiased source, they will serve as a useful record.
The Halifax Police Station, as the licensing and policing body of the industry, has maintained records regarding the number of drivers licensed. Like the Council and Commission Minutes the police records were kept by and for the regulators rather than the rank and file; however there are a few sources which directly represent the drivers.
The sources which best represent the driver are largely unavailable. Unfortunately the records of several associations and driver organizations have been lost. Many of the existing records on membership and meetings are closed to researchers. What is available from the driver associations are some of the newsletters from the Halifax Taxi Bureau Society, the constitutions of two driver associations, and several pamphlets printed and circulated by driver organizations. In addition to these sources, the local newspapers provide stories and interviews.
Unfortunately there is not an abundance of material; however the analysis of the taxi drivers will add to a growing number of studies which focus on the Canadian worker. The addition of taxi drivers to the study of labour history is particularly valuable because of their unique work environment. An examination of the taxi driver work culture will also provide additional insight into the effects of such factors as ownership and class on labour. Because drivers are a particularly diverse group their labour history should shed more light on the culturist debate.
Because of their work environment and culture, taxi drivers labour under considerable pressures preventing community expression and collective action. However, despite these forces taxi drivers display a significant amount of cooperation and cohesion.
The Drivers and Their Environment
The taxi driver may be a man or a woman, from any economic background and from any race or ethnic group. However, Halifax taxi drivers are predominantly white, male, and, by virtue of occupation working class.46 Although drivers come from a diverse economic background and have varying levels of formal education, many share a working class background and all share a similar public image of being low income, uneducated, and working class.47 In his article "Comment on the Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service," David Trojan describes the "considerable confusion" experienced by several people when they discovered he was a university professor.48 Trojan suggests that the driver's status is usually "accepted as lower than the rider's social status"49 and many Halifax taxi drivers confirm this:
-"a lot of people say that cab drivers are one of the lowest people on the world."50
-"the hookers are above us, that's what every class of people think."51
-"[people think] why don't you get a real job? [they think that taxi drivers are] doing nothing all day."52
Therefore, regardless of personal history or education all taxi drivers share an unsavoury public image. Taxi drivers also share many common experiences particular to their work environment. It is this unique work environment, and how it inhibits and enhances the community bond among the drivers, that this paper will explore.
The words of a former cabby introduce us to the world of taxi drivers, where a work culture is created from the bonds of shared experience:
My Chevy is jacked up in Bruce's garage on Rose St. Oil changed an hour ago now Bruce is changing the starter. One of these `work now pay later' deals. I am little better than dead weight in these situations don't know the first thing about changing a starter and not dressed appropriately to find out. So I sit and I read, then I sit and I write, then I stand and I pace. Already went to the store twice for lack of something better to do ...
It is getting dark and cold but we can't go to work yet, both cars are still in pieces. Bruce will have put in a full shift just bending wrenches before he even starts driving and I am getting tired just sitting around watching metal rust.
We are already into April and the car is a far cry from being ready for inspection. Meanwhile to renew my insurance I need $766.00 ... I can't wait `til this is over. From here on in I no longer want to talk about it I simply want to get everything done. Done right. Done quickly. No more fucking around - HA HA. How many times have we heard that one?53
Written in the style of a diary entry, this piece begins with what is almost always foremost in drivers' minds, their car. The first words this driver records are "My chevy." Issues of car maintenance, repair, preparation for yearly inspection at the police station and insurance costs all loom large in drivers' thoughts.54
This driver also draws attention to the peculiar relationship between the rhythms of work and the weather. Both drivers were working nights at the time this piece was written.55 When it starts to get "dark and cold" it is time for these drivers to go to work. Bad weather is often a sign of good business, and when the nights are cold people who would otherwise walk or wait for a bus might take a taxi. On a cold dry night the driver has the benefit of good driving conditions and the likelihood of increased business. These considerations are important to the livelihood of taxi drivers, and all understand the frustrations and calculations of the diary's author.
Out on the job, taxi drivers spend much of their time waiting for fares. Passenger calls for a taxi are received by a dispatcher at an office owned and operated by a broker.56 Each office in Halifax has one location and companies owned by the same broker are sometimes all housed at the same location.57 At large offices during busy times there may be more than one person answering the telephones. The dispatcher records the passenger's location on a call sheet, then sends out a call over the radio which all drivers can hear.58 In the meantime, drivers between fares wait at one of the taxi stands that each company has chosen from among the numerous common taxi stands in the city. The dispatcher will call the taxi stand nearest the passenger and send out the first car on that stand . The driver receives only the location where the passenger is to be found, and does not know the final destination until picking up the passenger.
If no taxi drivers are waiting at the nearest stand, the dispatcher will call the next nearest stand, and then the next nearest, attempting to find a driver. If after three, sometimes four, stands the dispatcher has not found a driver, he or she will send out a call asking if there is a car in the area. The specific location of the passenger will not be disclosed, but drivers can deduce the general area from the location of the first stand that was called. Each stand services a specific zone or area of the city determined by the office. Experienced drivers will know the exact area that each stand services and when checking on a call will give a location appropriate to the specific zone serviced by the first stand called. If the dispatcher called the SUB stand, in front of the Dalhousie Student Union Building, the driver might not give the Grace Hospital as his or her location because, although it is close, it is actually in the service area of the 1A stand at Summer Street and University Avenue. After the dispatcher issues a general call for any cars in the area, drivers wanting the fare will use their radio to check in and identify themselves, usually only by car number:
Dispatcher: SUB [calling the stand at the SUB]
Dispatcher: 1A [calling next closest stand]
Dispatcher: Southwest [calling for cars in the Southwest area of the city]
Driver: Eight six seven South [the driver of car number
867 checks on the call]
Dispatcher: Where are you eight six seven?
Driver: South and Seymour [driver gives location. An
experienced driver will give a location within the area serviced by the first stand to increase the odds of being the "closest car"]
Dispatcher: Cohen for Smith [giving location of the call - The Rebecca Cohen Auditorium - and the customer's name because it is not a private residence and there may be more than one customer there]
If more than one driver calls in for the fare, the dispatcher will then ask for the location of each and determine who is closest to the passenger.
The location of the customer is usually only revealed as the dispatcher assigns a car. The dispatcher then records the taxi number next to the pick-up location on the call sheet. According to city ordinance these call sheets must be kept by the office for three months and are used to identify the drivers in case of customer complaint and to help locate lost articles.59 This record-keeping is only possible for passenger-ordered calls. When drivers are "flagged down," or hailed by a customer on the street, nothing is communicated to the office, and the ride is not recorded on the call sheet. Sometimes if drivers are concerned about their safety they will communicate with the office even if the call was not received over the radio. The driver might say something like "I am taking a couple of passengers to Dartmouth and then I will meet the guys for coffee," thus indicating to the office where he or she is going and letting the passenger believe that someone will miss him or her if he or she does not return within a reasonable time.
When giving out the calls, dispatchers generally use the car number to identity the driver who is to take the call. Some dispatchers use names or "nicknames" to identify drivers. However, some offices have two hundred cars and more than one driver on some cars, so numbers may be used because the dispatcher is unsure who is driving. With more than one driver on a car and an I.D. radio, one that registers the number without the driver's voice, the dispatcher may have no idea who is driving the car. Drivers will know the car numbers of the other drivers they associate most closely with both within their own office and at other companies. Thus a code is quickly learned, known to fellow drivers and dispatchers, but not to the general public.
Complete locations are also not always given; a certain amount of general knowledge, as well as industry short-hand, is expected of the drivers. Large apartment buildings, for example, may be referred to by name, such as Park Victoria Apartments, or Park Vic, rather than by address. A driver receiving a call in the southeast end of Halifax would be expected to know that the Skyline apartments are at 5252 Tobin St.
Dispatcher: Eight six seven, fifty two fifty two (giving car number 867 a call to 5252 Tobin St. The driver is expected to infer the street name because among the streets in Southend, only Tobin has a large apartment building at number 5252.)
The driver acknowledges receiving the call whether on a stand or on the fly by saying "O.K.," by repeating the address or, if the car is equipped with an I.D. radio, by simply clicking the microphone once to register the number again and indicate that the call is taken.
Similarly drivers have expectations of the dispatchers' knowledge and impartiality. Dispatchers are criticized by drivers for giving a call to the wrong car, one that is not closest to the passenger. Drivers sometimes feel the dispatchers do not know the city well enough to know who is closest to the call. It is especially important to drivers that they are treated fairly, and dispatchers are criticised for "feeding" drivers, that is, intentionally giving calls to certain drivers. This type of favouritism is often associated with dispatchers who rent their own cars to drivers and with drivers and dispatchers who are married or live together.60 Although drivers criticize dispatchers for favouritism many also attempt to ensure a degree of favouritism for themselves by bringing dispatchers regular gifts of coffee or liquor.61 The degree of graft associated with the occasional or even the nightly coffee is debatable. Coffee at the office is as much an opportunity to stop work to rest and socialize as it is an attempt to obtain more work. Clearly a good rapport with the dispatcher will help reduce a stressful work environment and perhaps increase drivers' personal safety.
The "back door job" is an other way of feeding drivers. This usually occurs with pre-booked airport calls which are now worth more than thirty dollars, considerably more then an average fare. Drivers who come into the office to say hello or bring the dispatcher a coffee might receive the pre-booked call. Sometimes this manoeuvre is carried out indirectly: the driver might go directly to the address and pick up the passenger, or might go the appropriate stand and wait for the dispatcher to put the call over the air. This method can backfire if another driver is already at the stand. In that case, the dispatcher could make up a fictitious call getting the first driver off the stand in order to give the airport call to the chosen driver. One dispatcher admits that most of the "back door" jobs are given over the radio, so fictitious calls are often used.
Seasoned drivers accept them as a matter of course. According to "Muscles,"
[Drivers] will come [to the office] and say we'll sit on the stand [and wait for the call], or [the dispatcher will say] go over to the Holiday Inn [for example] and let me know how many [cars] are there.62
This might be the kind of behaviour that gives all calls that do not result in customers the suspicious name "phonies." If drivers receive too many phonies even innocently, they often suspect the dispatcher of malicious intent. Drivers thus are constantly balancing suspicions that dispatchers engage in favouritism with attempts to benefit from that favouritism themselves. It is a continuous tug-of-war that both encourages and discourages unity of interest among drivers. An added complication is that drivers may also be dispatchers.
Dispatchers have also been known to exercise judgement over whether to give certain calls to women drivers. Some dispatchers will, at times, not send women drivers to areas which are considered dangerous. The dispatcher may be judging the voice of the caller, the particular address, and the general area in these calls.
I can remember on one occasion the dispatcher calling for a car around Uniacke Square [an area considered to be dangerous], I checked on the call and he did not answer me. He continued to call for cars around the area, I checked in again, and again he did not answer me. After I checked a few more times he changed [the tone of] his voice [to indicate that he wanted me to stop checking for the call] and I realized that he could hear me but did not want to give me the call. No other drivers knew this was happening because the radios didn't allow them to hear me, only the dispatcher.63
It is generally accepted among taxi drivers that women drivers are exposed to different if not higher risks of violence than male drivers. While all drivers may be victims of robbery or assault it is generally accepted that only women drivers are also at risk of sexual assault.
... face it, the taxi business isn't a safe business, even for a man, [but] a woman is more vulnerable ... problem is that if you get on guy in the front seat, one guy in the back seat, the guy in the back seat puts a wire around your throat and hauls you over the seat, the other guy [has] got your clothes off and you're in trouble ... the fellows [male drivers] use[d] to look after the girls, use[d] to keep an eye on them.64
This driver's comments are not atypical, and the dispatchers' discretion also indicates that both drivers and dispatchers are conscious of the dangers present in the business. All drivers are at risk of robbery, assault, and personal injury in car accidents. These risks contribute to both the stress and the exhilaration of working and living on the edge.
The dangers inherent in taxi driving are exacerbated when drivers work for an office without radios. The brokers who do not operate radio dispatching services charge drivers a smaller weekly office rent for the use of the broker name displayed on the rooflight.65 The increased risks for drivers working without radio contact to an office are weighed against the considerable savings on office rent. When business is good these drivers can make as much money from picking up passengers on the street or at the bus station. The vast majority of drivers, however, work with radios and therefore rely heavily on the dispatcher. The business relationship between the dispatcher and the driver is similar to that between the hostess and the waitress in a restaurant. The hostess determines the distribution of tables in waitress sections. Although drivers do not have assigned sections the dispatcher does exercise some control and judgement over the distribution of calls.
The dispatcher receives an hourly wage for each shift, and may also be a driver. Dispatchers' shifts are usually scheduled for eight hours from 7am to 3pm, 3pm to 11pm, and 11pm to 7am. Drivers are not scheduled at all. It is possible for drivers who also dispatch to arrange their driving around their dispatch shifts or to rent their cars out to other drivers while they are working in the office. The dispatchers are employed directly by the taxi company or brokerage.
The owners of taxi companies generally operate out of small buildings or sometimes the basement of a house. They do not need to own any cars, but they need to purchase radio equipment and have a transmitter set up, they need phone lines and the dispatchers to operate the phones and send the calls over the radio. Most drivers own their own cars and pay the brokerage for the use of the radio system and the dispatch service.66 The brokerage may advertise or make contracts with local companies to help generate calls for the drivers. The drivers in return pay the brokerage a flat fee or office rent.
If drivers do not own their own vehicles they might rent cars either from drivers who will share their cars or from a fleet owner. The fleet owner charges the driver rent, usually six days a week with Sundays free. Drivers usually keep the car twenty four hours a day and only return it for maintenance or repairs.67
Because the office owns the radios, the city owns the licenses, and the fleet owner or the bank usually owns the cars, the relationship between the taxi driver and the means of production is often deceiving. Rare is the driver who truly owns the means of production. However the driver does maintain a considerable degree of independence because of the highly unstructured and unusual work environment. The driver either turns on the two-radio and goes to a stand to wait for a call, or cruises around the streets downtown looking for someone to flag the taxi, or stays home and does not work at all. The choice is up to the individual driver. Although some brokers insist that drivers work with the radio, many do not concern themselves whether or how the driver works providing the weekly office rent arrives on time.
The nature of the taxi business, the characters in it, and how they relate to one another all play a role in determining the degree and nature of community action among taxi drivers. Although the operation of vehicles for hire in Halifax during the twentieth century has undergone considerable change, the taxi driver remains a unique character in a peculiar business.
Regulation Without Recognition
The relationship between taxi drivers and the industry regulators is ambiguous. Drivers both actively initiate change and are subject to change within the industry. Halifax taxi drivers are neither wholly in control of their industry nor are they completely complacent or submissive to the decisions of the regulators.
The creation of a motor cab service in Halifax was initiated by a local hack owner, Fred Parsons, and the first local taxi driver, James Wood. In 1911, Parsons and Wood brought the first motor taxi to Halifax.68 Wood, a thirty year old mechanic, and Parsons, an operator of a fleet of fourteen hacks, agreed to start a motorized taxi business and purchased a "shiny, deluxe Seldon." The car was originally owned by William Firth, a wealth banker in the United States. Wood was the driver of the first motor taxi in Halifax and taught Parsons to operate the car three years later. At a time when few people in Halifax owned gasoline-driven vehicles the taxi was a novelty.69 Before the motorized taxicab became common in Halifax the city was served by "hackmen" and their horse-drawn carriages. Similar in style to the Hackney carriages from London, the vehicles in Halifax were referred to as "hacks." These carriages were usually closed and capable of seating at least four passengers in addition to the driver. Other carriages, such as a barouche,70 might be substituted in the summer, and a sleigh in the winter. The vehicles were for hire and operated similarly to the modern taxi, however each hack was assigned to a specific stand.71 It is unclear how common it was for hackmen to pick up fares while travelling the street. It seems that after each customer was taken to his or her destination the hackman returned to his assigned stand. However, a newspaper feature looking back at the first Halifax taxi describes Jimmy Wood "rumbl[ing] over the cobblestones and the dirt streets of Halifax looking for business."72
This unusual motorized vehicle had some difficulty finding willing passengers. "In those days drivers had to coax passengers into their vehicles."73 This is not necessarily an indication that the public was particularly shy of the motorized vehicle, because hackmen, at this time, were being criticized for too vigorously soliciting passengers. As one customer declared: "I never take a cab belonging to any cabman who acts like a wild man when asking for a fare."74 It seems that regardless of the type of vehicle, passengers were not abundant in early twentieth century Halifax. Perhaps it is for this reason that growth of the motor cab industry was slow.
The hackmen and their vehicles were licensed and regulated by the municipal government and controlled through city ordinance. When the first motor cab was introduced, regulations for the licensing and operation of vehicles for hire were already in place.75 For several years after the introduction of Wood's and Parson's first taxi the motor cabs and horse drawn hacks operated side by side, often out of the same livery stables, and were governed by the same municipal regulations.76 However, when the first taxi was introduced the municipality was experimenting with civic reform and the regulatory body was in metamorphosis.
In response to the problems of early twentieth century urban growth a new form of city government was introduced in Halifax. The Halifax Board of Control was created to enable a city-wide approach to problems such as transportation.77 In his article "The Halifax Board of Control: The Failure of Municipal Reform, 1906-1919," Henry Roper describes the rise of this new city government and how its success was thwarted by personal conflicts between Controllers.78 The Board of Control established in 1913 was strongly opposed by prominent municipal leaders. The first four controllers elected in 1913 included "two able men," Reginald V. Harris and W.F. O'Connor and two former aldermen who "brought the flavour of the old council with them, to the discomfort of the fastidious Harris and O'Connor."79 Roper contends that the two former aldermen, Charles R. Hoben and Matthew Scanlan, "showed little capacity to rise above petty rivalry,"80 suggesting that, from the beginning, the Board was crippled by personal and ideological conflicts. The new taxi industry, therefore, began while the civic regulatory bodies were in a state of flux and new taxi regulations would need the approval of both the Board of Control and the City Council.
In 1913 Leo Sweet, a licensed motor cab driver, was present and made his case to the Halifax Board of Control when it was determining the fare schedule for the city's motor hacks. When a report from the Chief of Police recommended the fares be set at $2.00 and $2.50 per hour for five and seven passenger cars respectively, Sweet addressed the Board advising that the rates were too low, since "it cost him over $2.00 an hour to run a motor cab."81 Sweet was persuasive and the Board passed an amendment to set the rates at $3.00 and $3.50 respectively.82 Sweet's victory was short lived however. The Board's recommendation was read by City Council then referred back to the Board of Control for conference with the city's hackmen.83 It is unclear why the matter was not referred to the hackmen from the beginning, however, the Board cooperated with Council's recommendation. A newspaper advertisement notified cabmen:
The Board of Control at its meeting on Friday morning, 8th. inst., at 11.30 o'clock, will hear cabmen and automobile owners in reference to rates of fares for licensed motor cabs 84
Two cabmen accepted the Board's invitation. The minutes recorded that "[t]he only persons taking advantage of the opportunity were cabmen Michael G. Power and Stephen Rose,"85 suggesting that the Board considered the attendance poor. Unfortunately for the motor cab operators it seems that both Power and Rose represented the interests of the hack operators. One month prior to the meeting Stephen Rose submitted a request to "ply with his barouche" while his hack was in the repair shop.86 Both men suggested that "licensed motor cabs should come under the general cab ordinance, operating from the stands the whole year round and at the same rate of fares."87 The hacks charged $1.00 and $1.50 for one and two horse carriages respectively.88 This advice was not followed. However, the Board did reduce the fares to the rate recommended by the Chief of Police. As hack drivers, Power and Rose likely suggested lower fares to prevent motor cab drivers from receiving what they perceived to be unfair profits. Although the Board reduced the fares it is not a strong indication that the Board was responding the concerns of these cabmen. It is equally possible that the Board was simply returning to the recommendation of what it considered to be the proper authority, the police chief.
That the original recommendation came from the Chief of Police is illustrative of the unusual relationship between taxi drivers and their regulators. The "Regulation of Hacks," 1914, does not designate the Police Department as the licensing body nor does it name an officer as the inspector of hacks.89 However, the report of the Chief suggests that the department was already considered instrumental as a member of the regulatory body. The close involvement of the police in a local industry is unusual and indicates that the municipal leaders, and their electoral public, considered hackmen and taxi drivers some sort of threat to public order and safety, requiring extraordinary measures of control and monitoring.90
The fare schedule for motor cabs represents the first recorded regulatory action regarding taxis and illustrates something of the nature of the relationship between cab drivers and their municipal regulators. To a large extent drivers were excluded from participation in regulatory matters. Although the meeting of the Board of Control was advertised it was held on a Friday at midday, a time that would likely prohibit driver attendance.91 The consultation itself was not the Board's first plan of action nor did the drivers' participation appear to have any meaningful effect on the final regulation. Driver participation during the first adaptations of taxi regulation was sparse, ineffective, and characteristically fragmented. The drivers did not agree on what fare rates were appropriate. Although their disagreement was likely the result of competition between different types of vehicles, even drivers operating the same type of vehicle are engaged in competition. Thus drivers are often struggling with the regulators and against one another.
In 1914 the ordinance governing the operation of hacks showed little evidence of the existence of the motor cab. Other than the last three lines to introduce a differential rate schedule, the "Regulation of Hacks" remained almost solely concerned with horse drawn vehicles. Motor cabs remain both a more costly investment for drivers, and a more expensive means of transportation for customers. Almost a decade after the introduction of the motorized taxi, City Council continued to issue horse-drawn hack licenses. According to the City Ordinance in 1919, Council had power to issue seventy hack licenses and eighty taxi licenses; however, the applications reflected a greater demand for the motor cab licenses. There were twenty one applications for traditional hack licenses and one hundred and sixty eight applications for motor cab licenses.92
Most of the ordinance governing hacks is the direct precursor to the later taxi ordinance. Sections regarding licensing, fees, applications, inspections, and class of vehicles are examples of regulations with corresponding sections in the later taxi ordinance. One interesting exception is section 32 of Ordinance 14 in 1914 which regulates the transport of dead bodies, and states:
No licensed hack shall be used for the conveyance of a dead body, unless, before the body is placed therein, there is produced to the owner or driver of the hack a certificate by the clerk, stating that the cause of death was not any infectious or contagious disease. Every owner or driver who contravenes or fails to comply with this section shall be liable to a penalty of ten dollars, and in default of payment, to imprisonment for twenty days.93
The disappearance of this section of the hack regulation speaks more to the evolution of the ambulance than to the development of a motor cab industry. However, the existence of this regulation speaks to the peculiar nature of the hack business. The transportation of bodies was clearly not exceptional or an ordinance rule would not have been necessary. Furthermore, because the section is intended to prevent hack drivers from transporting bodies without certificates it indicates that drivers were willing to do so. The drivers' willingness to undertake the distasteful job of transporting the dead, and the government's attempts to restrict them, demonstrates that hackmen undertook whatever work was available. This suggests that hacking has historically been a low income occupation. This section of the ordinance also suggests that the job of the hackmen often included the unusual and the unpleasant. Regardless of other changes in the industry the job remains low income and continues to involve more than simply transporting customers from place to place. Years later taxi drivers continued to play a role in the ceremonies surrounding the dead, transporting the bereaved to the burial during funeral services when funeral homes needed extra vehicles.94
After the introduction of the taxi fare schedule, the voices of Halifax taxi drivers are conspicuously absent from city council chambers. Council created a twenty five dollar license fee for motor taxis in 1916 and although this was five times the cost of a hack license there is no record of resistance through formal Council channels.95 Equally, Council minutes of discussion of the number of licenses and application deadlines do not record any reaction from drivers.96 Unfortunately the Council minutes only record the driver activity that reaches chambers; it is, therefore, an incomplete and misleading source. Yet even the regulatory bodies which were more accessible to the taxi driver consistently failed to recognize the members of the industry they were regulating.
Despite the regulators' failure to acknowledge the drivers, decisions regarding taxi licensing and regulation did not go unnoticed by the drivers. For example, the particular timing of Council's decision to create an application deadline for taxi licenses had a noticeable effect. For some of the soldiers who returned home after World War I the newly created deadline complicated their attempts to obtain work. Although neither City Council nor the Hack and Truck Minute book make any mention of it, there were a number of requests for the deadline to be waived.97
I regret that I could not apply before the 1st July, 1919 and trust you will consider my case as stated below.
I just arrived back from overseas on the 11th Inst. and applied for a course as Draughtsman at the Technical College. As I have had a good knowledge and experience of cars and furthermore as I am thirty five per cent disabled my only means of gaining a livelihood is to start a taxi business.
Hoping this application will meet with your early approval as I would like to start with as little delay as possible.98
I beg to make application for a license to drive a taxi cab in the City of Halifax.
Having just arrived from France this week, I served three years, I could not make application before.
Hoping that this will receive your favourable consideration.99
I hereby make application for [a] taxi license for the City of Halifax. I am a returning soldier and only arrived home July 5, 1919 and was unable to put in application on proper time. Trusting my request is granted.100
There is no record of how many similar letters were received nor any mention of the city's response to the requests. Clearly, taxi regulations affected drivers, but the reverse was not always true. Not only did municipal councils and committees often fail to document the effects of regulation and the circumstances of taxi drivers, they also neglected to consistently document their own activities and practices in the industry. Halifax City Council Minutes do not record any discussion of taxi drivers, taxi regulation, or taxi ordinance amendment from 1922 to 1931.
Beginning in 1932, Halifax taxi drivers begin to appear more frequently in Council minutes. Independent operators in cooperation with company owners submitted recommendations for taxi fare schedules.101 The practice at the time was for drivers to charge according to the fare schedule in the ordinance. They estimated distance according to a table in the ordinance which gave distances between the Grand Parade and numerous locations throughout the city.
In 1938, the city moved to change this practice. It proposed legislation forcing drivers to purchase taxi metres. The drivers were quick to respond.102 R. J. Flynn, representing the interests of small independent taxi operators, protested. He argued that the installation of metres would put smaller operators out of business, explaining to Council that people "accustomed [sic] to using taxis would hesitate to use same on account of the uncertainty of the price."103 Flynn met opposition. Leonard W. Fraser, Solicitor, "on behalf of a number of taxi owners and drivers," spoke in favour of the metres. Four years earlier in a letter addressed to the mayor, Fraser spoke on behalf of, "Chas. A. Pender Ltd., Halifax Taxi, Fraser Brothers Taxi, Casino Taxi, and a number of independent operators,"104 indicating that he likely represented the interests of the larger companies in this matter as well. Fraser insisted that taxi drivers were underpaid, and the only way to ensure they could "obtain decent wages" would be the uniform rates assured by the installation of metres.105 It seems that the issue was divided between drivers associated with larger brokers and those who operated independently. However, the division may have been between those who owned their own cars and those who drove company cars. In any case there was clearly conflict between different groups of drivers, between the interests of drivers and company owners, and between the smaller operators and the regulators.
After some discussion, a motion to refer the issue to the Laws and Privileges Committee for further consideration was lost six votes to eight.106 Council then passed the original motion making the installation of taximetres required by ordinances with a vote of eleven to three.107 Once again Council quickly returned to its original recommendations; the concerns of drivers were entertained briefly but there is no indication that the Council desired to measure or follow the interests of the drivers.
Drivers were considerably more united and successful in 1941 when they protested an amendment requiring them to identify their cars as taxis. By submitting a petition signed by one hundred five "licensed taxi owners," the drivers persuaded Council to repeal the recommendation of the Safety Committee that drivers "shall cause to be painted, stencilled or otherwise placed on the rear of the body" of their vehicles the word "taxi" and the "number assigned to such vehicle by the Committee."108 Although the drivers' argument against the amendment is not documented in the minutes they may have been concerned about the cost. Vehicles used to transport passengers for hire often serve a short life. This amendment might have meant drivers would have to endure the cost of painting and stencilling every few years, and might affect the resale value of the car. Their vehicles were also used as private cars and many drivers would object to having a permanent sign affixed to their family vehicle. Drivers may also have objected to the idea of displaying an identification number on the vehicle. It is often considered alienating and impersonal to display, and be identified by a number.
This is the first evidence of successful collective action among Halifax taxi drivers. The petition represents a more unified protest than the testimony of individual drivers before Council. Although the petition was signed by a considerable number of drivers it was submitted to Council by Leonard Fraser, the solicitor who also represented several taxi brokers. This indicates that the drivers and the brokers were cooperating to challenge the regulators. It may also indicate that with the support of the brokers, and their lawyer, drivers had a stronger voice before Council. The success of the amendment repeal can likely be attributed to both the collective action of drivers and the support and cooperation of the brokers.
In the case of larger issues of industry regulation, cooperation among drivers and between drivers and brokers is often more difficult. During the Second World War Halifax experimented with a cooperative taxi service; many of the difficulties experienced with the Wartime Taxi Association illustrate the larger problems of cooperation among drivers and between drivers and the regulators. During World War II the city established a central call office and attempted to bring all taxis under its direction. This taxi Pool was intended to improve service. Customers could call the central office and order a taxi and the dispatcher would distribute the calls to drivers when they returned to the office or through call boxes located throughout the city. The difficulty of this system was the inability of the dispatcher to contact cars to service the calls.109 The shortage of taxis was of sufficient concern to municipal leaders that Aldermen would visit the central call office to observe the operation.
[One] alderman stated that the public was very much interested in the matter and that he and [another] alderman ... had visited the [taxi] Pool on Saturday night for [two] hours and watched the operation and to them it seemed to be unsatisfactory.110
Although the dispatcher was receiving several calls taxis could not be contacted. Returning to the central call office or finding a call box and contacting the office after each call was not efficient for the drivers. They would drive past customers and often be sent to a call where people had given up waiting,111 thus wasting their time and resources. During the war gasoline was rationed and tires and car parts were scarce.112 Speaking before Council on the issue, Mr. Donohue, identified as a representative for the individual taxi operators, advised that each taxi man was given five gallons of gas for the day and used it to make the most money he could.113 Driver cooperation with the central office meant the sacrifice of earnings because of the inefficiencies of operating without direct contact with the office. Because of the scarcity of rubber and car parts it is likely that drivers were under additional stress to earn their money efficiently. Frustrated with the inefficiency of the taxi Pool, the Wartime Taxi Association voted to have the switchboard office discontinued. However, the members of the Association were clearly divided on the issue, sixteen voting to continue the switchboard and twenty- two voting against.114
Representing the drivers and brokers opposed to the elimination of the taxi Pool was Leonard Fraser. Fraser admitted the taxi Pool was not working efficiently but argued that the Pool was at least a framework that could be improved upon.115 Clearly people on both sides of the argument agreed that the Pool was not working satisfactorily; however, there was considerable conflict between operating an efficient taxi service and operating an efficient taxi.
Although taxi companies and independent taxi operators had come together to work out of a central office it did not represent a cooperative initiative on their part because it had been dictated by the regulators. The taxi Pool was "forced upon the taxi operators and they could do nothing about it."116 Although members of the Wartime Taxi Association clearly had opinions on how it should best be operated, the authority to control the Pool rested with City Council and the Department of Transit Control. Despite the membership vote to discontinue the operation of the switchboard, City Council voted unanimously to have Transit Control deal with the matter, making desired improvements, including penalties to drivers who did not cooperate.117 The notion that cooperation could be enforced through penalties was shared by the administrators of the taxi Pool. One driver recalls Gordon Mitchell, president of the Wartime Taxi Association, threatening to cancel gasoline and tire permits in an attempt to coerce drivers to cooperate with the office.118 Mitchell and the regulators seemed driven to improve service through whatever means they could. They were clearly sensitive to the numerous complaints received from the public; however, considerably less sensitive to the issues of drivers efficiently obtaining adequate earnings. The issue of public transportation during war time is clearly more divisive than the issue of painting "taxi" on all vehicles. The Wartime Taxi Association embodies the conflicts between drivers and their office, drivers and their regulators, and drivers and their customers.
After the end of the Second World War, taxi drivers again operated out of different offices and plied their trade as before the taxi Pool; however, the business environment had changed considerably. During the heady days of the Wartime Taxi Association there were not enough taxis to meet the demand, after the war the opposite seemed true. In the post-war era taxi drivers witnessed many changes in the industry including new technology, increased regulation, fewer and larger taxi offices and, especially in recent years, a decline in the volume of business.
Although drivers have always had to work long hours to earn a living wage there is a significant contrast between wartime and postwar business. Compared with the bustling wartime port, post-war Halifax must have seemed particularly stark. Percy Clark, a retired driver, began driving taxi in 1934 and recalls a noticeable increase in business during World War II.
Earlier it wasn't so good. But later when there was a better rate in pay [fare schedule] you could make more, especially during the war ... [you] could have made a fortune.119
However, the most lucrative wartime business was not transporting passengers, it was in supplying the numerous soldiers and sailors with liquor and women.
-If you didn't bootleg, you didn't make any money. You would buy a bottle for $4.00 and sell it for $25 ... Not like the sailors of today, who go back to the ship with a pizza or fish and chips and a Coke - the sailors during the war wanted a bottle. I used to carry a roll of masking tape and tape the bottle to their legs; with bell-bottom trousers, no one would tell the difference.120
The illegal trade in liquor and women was as much a part of driving a taxi as transporting passengers for hire and represented a considerable portion of the driver's income. The success of the driver was associated with his or her ability to supply customers with what they were looking for.
A cabbie as not a cabbie who could not get a man a woman ... I consider myself a professional taxi-man and it was my business to know where and what to find for my customers.121
In the postwar era more liberal liquor laws and a peace-time port led to a dramatic decline in bootlegging. Drivers increasingly relied solely on the transport of passengers for their earnings, working harder for their money in a business that already demanded long hours. According to Clark,
You had to work long hours to make some money ... no eight hour days ... it was fifteen ... I worked ... house[s] and I worked hotels, everywhere I could get a dollar I was there.122
In recent years drivers have continued to suffer declining business as a recent report on taxi license limitation prepared by consultants for the Halifax Taxi Commission documents.123 One record of dispatched calls shows the fluctuation during the 1980's, with a marked high in 1988 followed by a steady decline and a dramatic low in 1991. Despite fluctuations in business volume, it is clear that at no time since the war have drivers had the advantages of such a busy port or such lucrative side-lines. The last fifty years have been characterized by longer hours, and the last few years by even longer hours and less money.
In addition to the increased struggle to earn a living wage, drivers and brokers became further separated as the gap between labour and capital widened. The consolidation of taxi offices eliminated many of the smaller brokers and created larger, more powerful brokers. With fewer offices for drivers to work from, and the installation of broker-owned radio systems, drivers increasingly lost power and independence. As well, they were hemmed in even tighter with increased regulation.
The toll of the post-war changes was a decrease in the drivers' autonomy and independence. In response to these new challenges drivers increased their collective action and demonstrated an increasing community consciousness. Although the business continued to demand independence and competition, continued survival clearly began to demand cooperation among drivers.
During the 1950's, Halifax taxi drivers took an important step toward organization. In 1957 they formed the Halifax Taxi Association, the first recorded voluntary trade association. Although city council interpreted the drivers' aims as "raising the ethics of their calling,"124 the drivers clearly had stronger purposes. The Association hired a solicitor and began lobbying for the limitation of taxi licenses, an issue dating from 1919, and along with rate schedules, one around which drivers continued to rally. In 1919 the Laws and Privileges Committee recommended eliminating from Ordinance 14 the limitation of the number of hack licenses which may be granted. The Amendment passed, but demands for the reinstatement of limitation appear in 1938 and 1946.125 During the next four decades the limitation issue passed from one association to another, and today is high on the agenda of the United Cab Drivers Association of Halifax.
Throughout the 1950's and 1960's the Taxi Association and "non-Association" drivers struggled against the municipal regulators, against their brokers, and against each other. Although drivers were often divided on the solution to problems within the industry, their united efforts to obtain better taxi rates and regulations alarmed the brokers. In an effort to maintain the upper hand brokers engaged legal counsel. In 1969, a solicitor for ten taxi companies reported that the companies opposed both the drivers' proposal for limitation and their taxi association:
apparently this proposal [for limitation] arose from a group of taxi drivers who have organized themselves into a taxi association, which we might add, is not supported by the taxi companies of which we represent ten.126
The argument over limitation created divisions within the industry but neither side was able to force a definitive response from Council. Council repeatedly deferred the matter, sending it to sub-committees, the Safety Committee, and the City Solicitor for consideration and recommendations. But drivers were tenacious. They supported their Association's sustained pressure on Council for more than a decade. Ultimately they failed, but their efforts demonstrated unprecedented stamina, and established both the importance of a Taxi Association and the roadblocks it would face.
In March of 1974 a small number of Halifax drivers tried another tack. In an effort to improve their position in the industry and their autonomy at work, four driver-owners began a cooperative taxi company called Union Taxi. Through a system of preferred and common shares Union Taxi enabled drivers to own part of their own company. There were other advantages as well. The cooperative office was able to offer considerably lower taxi-stand rent. Most companies at the time charged between $25 and $30, but Union drivers paid only $18 per week.127 Although Union Taxi grew quickly at first, from ten drivers to forty in less than two years, the company only survived a few years.128 Interference by brokers may have been one reason. Brokers were known to attempt to intimidate drivers:
The brokers will tell a driver, `Alright, go down to Union, but don't ever expect to get a job with this company again. Where will you go when it folds in six months?'129
Although the conflicts between brokers and drivers may have hindered the growth of Union Taxi, conflicts among drivers helped to push Union into decline. According to Union Taxi member Gordon Robb, "The guys started pulling out. There were a few things [that] happened."130 The conflicts between drivers at Union were echoes of those at other offices: disagreements over company policies and disputes over calls. Robb recalls a particular disagreement over a driver refusing a radio call:
[One driver] was sitting on a stand behind [another]. [The first driver on the stand] took a call,[on the radio], and [at the same time] a guy got into his car and said `take me to the airport.' He picked up his mike and said `give that call to somebody else, I'm going to the airport.' The guy behind him a got a $.50 call [when] the airport pick-up should have been his.131
While drivers came together for the benefit of lower office rent they were also divided by the continuous competition and pressure to make money. The economic pressure that created a demand for a cooperative office also created conflict within it.
At the same time as the Union Taxi cooperative experiment, many Halifax taxi drivers were also attempting to establish a union. The Halifax Taxi Union was unable to obtain union recognition in 1975 because the Labour Relations Board determined that taxi drivers were not employees and, therefore, ineligible to participate in a vote for unionization. However, the Taxi Union continued to lobby Council for limitation in 1976.132
In addition to the efforts of the cooperative and the taxi union, individual drivers frequently petitioned City Council. They wanted hotel access, rate increases, and license limitation.133 With a steady flow of correspondence from both sides of the taxi industry, and after a flurry of seven submissions in just two months, Council responded by passing a motion to establish a Committee to review all relevant and appropriate matters concerning the taxi industry. The committee was empowered to "report back to Council with specific recommendations."134
This was the opportunity for industry regulation that taxi drivers and brokers both believed was necessary. At a public meeting of the City's Taxi Review Committee on 5 August 1976, Committee Chair Alderman Terrence Sullivan formally recognized their concerns. He announced that the Taxi Committee had been established "as a result of the submissions made to Council [regarding] rate increases and limitation of taxis."135
The establishment of the Taxi Committee brought drivers one step closer to representation on the regulatory body and signals the degree of unrest within the industry. During the 1970's Halifax taxi drivers were not solidly united and speaking with one voice; however, they were echoing one another and identifying issues that were common to all. At the first meeting of the Taxi Committee there were more grievances than the Committee had time to hear and another date had to be set to allow people time to address the committee.
Although efforts to unionize were foiled by provincial legislation, and attempts to operate cooperatives were unsuccessful, drivers succeeded in making the regulators more accessible. If fifteen years of petitioning from the Taxi Association only produced deferrals and delays, the creation of a Committee to study the "problems" in the industry came in response to increased pressure. The issues had not changed in twenty years but driver agitation and initiative had.
One year after its formation the Taxi Committee reported that the industry was experiencing problems and required a "responsible authority" to regulate or arbitrate disputes between the taxi drivers and the brokers.136 The Committee's recommendation to establish a permanent Taxi Commission represented only a partial victory for the drivers. The Commission was to consist of five voting members including one taxi driver, and one taxi owner. The taxi driver seat on the Commission represented a significant accomplishment, and provided a voice for drivers within the regulatory body. However, one seat to represent the interests of more than nine hundred drivers137 was clearly inadequate. The issue was further complicated because drivers were not united on issues of limitation and unionization. One vote on the Commission simply could not represent the interests of all drivers. Brokers were granted a much larger voice. Although there were considerably fewer taxi brokers than drivers, they received equal representation on the Commission. Despite the inequities, the establishment of a permanent Taxi Commission in the summer of 1978 meant a stronger voice for drivers within the governing body of the industry.138
During the 1970's and 1980's taxi drivers attempted to assert greater influence over their work conditions by experimenting with cooperatives, association, and unions. They met with considerable resistance, and faced a number of changes in their industry.
During the 1970's the brokerage structure underwent considerable consolidation. Yellow Cab, established in the 1960's, bought out a number of its competitors and became one of the few large offices in the city. The number of Halifax taxi services listed in the City Directory declined dramatically from eighteen in 1969 to five in 1987. Although there were several small offices and independent operators which might not be listed, the directory indicates a trend toward fewer and larger offices. By the 1980's Casino, Yellow, and The Y Taxi were the dominant offices in the city. With fewer offices to choose from drivers become increasingly subject to the policies of their brokers.139 However, they also became increasingly more united, vocal, and militant.
Taxi Commission Minutes are littered with references to petitions. In the autumn of 1979 at least three petitions were being circulated by drivers wanting to advise the Commission on rate increases. The first of these to reach Council contained approximately one hundred forty signatures representing about thirteen per cent of the city's drivers.140 Seventy drivers, organized by taxi driver Vincent Burke, also invited commission chairman Gerald Blom to attend their own meeting and hear their grievances.141 This represents a significant increase in driver participation since the early days of fare schedules and Leo Sweet. Although there was "considerable dissension" among the drivers regarding what the rate increase should be they all demonstrated a strong preference for a rate increase.142 If drivers were not strongly united around one solution, they were increasingly united in identifying the problem.
More petitions were submitted in December 1983 and January 1984 when the issue of rate increases surfaced again. Drivers were divided. Among several proposals recommending new rate schedules, one was accompanied by a petition with one hundred forty six signatures, but there was also a petition representing the drivers opposed to a rate increase.143
In 1986, three hundred drivers signed a petition protesting any rate increase at that time, despite increasing operating costs:
We are of the belief that if the Commission were to set a rate increase at this time, the public would use the taxi business [sic] as little as possible, thereby causing the taxi drivers to work longer than they do now and with no guarantee that the increase will offset the cost of operating a taxi in Halifax.144
The drivers succeeded and the Commission passed a motion not to amend taxi rates in 1986.145
The same year driver agitation reached an unprecedented high in a debate over the exclusive right of Yellow Cab to operate taxi stands at the majority of city hotels. Four hundred and seventy drivers protesting Yellow Cab's hotel monopoly signed a petition which they submitted to Council in November 1986.146 In retaliation Yellow Cab also circulated a petition, presumably among its own drivers where support for the monopoly would be the strongest.147
The battle between Yellow Cab and the drivers continued into the summer of 1987. Although the Taxi Commission approved an information referendum on the issue the results only indicated industry opinion and were not binding. Drivers voted overwhelmingly in favour of open stands, with four hundred forty eight ballots for open stands, two hundred forty nine ballots against and forty three neutral ballots. Despite the large voter turn-out and the clear majority in favour of open stands, the referendum did not result in the opening of any taxi stands located on private property. Drivers threatened to blockade stands at the hotels:
There [has] been a five-man pilot committee elected from each taxi office and they're looking into the matter of blocking the hotels and the closed stands, like the CN station and the bus station ... they're talking to lawyers to see what [is] legal and what's not ... the blockages would be random, hitting different locations at unexpected times.148
Although there is no evidence that these blockades materialized, drivers were clearly becoming more militant. Threats to blockage were serious, since many Halifax taxi drivers had already successfully united with Dartmouth and Halifax County drivers in a blockade at the Halifax International Airport to protest Yellow Cabs' monopoly of the airport stand. After the blockade the stand was opened. This incident demonstrates a significant degree of unity and an increase in militancy among Halifax's taxi drivers. More importantly it serves as an example of how despite unity of thought and action, drivers are denied their objective by forces beyond their control, in this case, because of property laws.
In addition to the large number of drivers signing petition and participating in the 1986 referendum, drivers began attending the Commission meetings in larger numbers. Attendance at meetings discussing rate increases was often noticeable, usually between twenty and sixty drivers, however at one meeting regarding rate changes and exclusive bus lanes more than one hundred drivers attended.149
Whether appearing individually to express their personal concerns or as representatives of a larger group, driver attendance at Commission meetings illustrates that drivers were willing to take time from work, and lose money, in order to participate in industry regulation. Attendance at meetings clearly indicates a greater commitment to industry reform than signing a petition or casting a ballot, both of which could be done quickly.150
The issue which has generated the most pronounced and sustained protest among Halifax taxi drivers is the limitation of taxis servicing the city. Driver lobbying for limitation increased steadily over the last few decades and climbed dramatically during the 1980's and 1990's. Drivers flooded Council Chambers in November 1982 and August 1993 with attendance of two hundred and four hundred drivers respectively.151 They also submitted a petition containing more than five hundred names to the Commission in 1993 indicating their unity was stronger than ever.152 During the summer of 1993 and 1994 hundreds of drivers participated in demonstrations calling for limitation.153
Drivers have become increasingly willing to make sacrifices in order to influence the regulators. Driving through the streets at noon hour and attending meetings for hours at night to lobby for change demonstrates considerable commitment, especially when drivers' earnings are considered. Before one protest, one unnamed driver worked three hours to earn only $3.95, but stopped work to demonstrate during the one hour when three hundred other cars would not be working.154 There also appears to be an increase in driver militancy surrounding the issue of limitation. The same driver was quoted in a local paper: "We cooperated with the police today but next week, who knows? We might not."155
If driver cooperation and collective action around this issue is uncharacteristic, the response of regulators to drivers' activity is not. The Commission responded by holding special meetings and initiating more studies of the problem. Drivers won an ambiguous victory when the Commission voted to establish a one year moratorium on new taxi licenses in September 1993.156 Although the moratorium was supported by a City Council vote it was not the permanent taxi limitation drivers had been fighting for.157 Although the Taxi Commission is willing to listen to the concerns of drivers and study the issue at tedium, it is not responding to the wishes of an organized and vocal drivers' lobby. Reminiscent of the Board of Control and its response to Sweet, municipal regulators often remain reluctant to change policy regardless of driver participation.
In 1982 when drivers were protesting against rate increases a local new reporter wrote:
Few industries are so divided nor draw as broad a range of opinion as the taxi industry with its 1 900 drivers. Therefore, it came as some surprise to many that nearly 140 drivers voted 95 per cent in favour of putting a freeze on any rate increase ... Indeed, it came as a surprise to many that 140 cab drivers even bothered to show up.158
The significant turn-out of drivers and a more unified voice was not an anomaly, rather, it was an indication of a trend toward increased collective action among the city's taxi drivers. This cooperative spirit which has shown itself repeatedly in the history of the industry has never represented complete unity among drivers. It has, however, shown that drivers frequently recognize common problems and can often reach an agreement on a solution.
The ambiguous relationship between drivers and regulators is shown through the varying degrees of cooperation between the two. Although drivers have occasionally been able successfully to sway regulators on issues of rate increases and the painting of vehicles, most of the drivers' protests have resulted in only partial success. The creation of the Taxi Committee and establishment of a permanent Taxi Commission with driver representation both mark partial victories in the drivers' fight for more control over their industry. Hearings, studies, consultations, and license moratoriums on limitation represent the regulators' refusal to act decisively on drivers' demands. It is this combination of cooperation and disregard that characterizes the relationship between the regulators and the taxi drivers. The following chapters will explore the challenges facing drivers in their efforts to cooperate with each other.
Divided They Drive
Ask almost any of the taxi drivers and you will hear that drivers are difficult to organize: " ... you get three cab drivers in a room you couldn't get two of them out of the three to agree on something."159 There is little doubt that taxi drivers are difficult to organize but this may be as much a result of the work environment as the drivers' character. The relationship between the drivers and the brokers, the competition among the drivers, and their estrangement from the product of their work all serve to alienate taxi drivers, inhibiting cohesion and collective action.
The concept of alienation in the workplace originated with Karl Marx and his examination of work and industrial capitalism.160 In addition to describing the condition of the worker, the concept of alienation has been applied to a broad array of disadvantaged groups. However, in all its applications the term refers to notions of estrangement and social causation.161 The antagonistic relationship between capital and labour, the competitive relationship among workers, and the estrangement of workers from the means of production and the product of their labour are the characteristic divisions that create alienation in the workplace. These divisions are all present in the taxi industry and serve to inhibit cohesive action among drivers.
In recent decades brokers have increased the sense of alienation among drivers with the installation of "closed" and I.D. radio systems. Drivers already alienated by the competitive nature of their work are further divided by the brokers' attempts to expand their own control.
Taxi drivers have always been physically separated from one another, each in his or her own vehicle. Today almost all drivers are separated both spatially and in terms of communication.162 Every driver can hear everything the dispatcher says to any of them, but none can hear what each other says to the dispatcher. This communication barrier was introduced in the early 1970's when brokers began to purchase their own radios to install in drivers' cars. Before the installation of these closed radios, drivers owned their own radios which operated with a system of open communication between all the drivers and the dispatch office. The introduction of the new radios increased the control of the brokers and contributed to the alienation of drivers by further limiting their contact, first with one another and later, when I.D. radios were introduced, with the dispatcher also.
This type of communication system is unusual even in industries which commonly use radio communication, such as security firms and police departments. For example both Dalhousie Security and the Halifax Police Department use radio systems which allow officers to hear one another and if necessary to speak directly to each other. The communication barrier between taxi drivers is peculiar to the industry and creates a particularly isolating work environment.
The effects of the closed radios include some benefits for both drivers and dispatchers. The new system reduces disputes over the distribution of calls because drivers do hear each other's locations, thus eliminating many disagreements over which driver was closer to the call. Previously, there were often heated arguments, either between two drivers, or between a driver and the dispatcher:
[the closed radio] system ... is better in a lot of ways because you don't hear all this gobbledygook all the time, the screaming and yelling.163
While they may have appreciated not having to listen to the angry exchanges, drivers suffered other consequences of the new system.
Drivers lost control of an important tool of production. The switch to broker-owned radio systems meant the loss of both capital investment and independence.
We went out and spent money and bought two-way radios and then [the brokers] brought theirs in and we had to use theirs, that means ours became obsolete.164
The company owners have gradually taken away the independence of the independent taxi cab driver, the owner-operator. First you had to pay them rent [then] you had to use their radio.165
The radio itself has become the expression of the broker's control. Drivers "ask" for a radio when they want to work with an office, and brokers threaten to "take the radio out" when they want to control driver behaviour. It was clearly the brokers' intent to increase their control through the radio purchases because they refused to cooperate with drivers whose radios could work with their new system.
I had my own Marconi radio and it had the space in it to set it up the same as his [Warren Spicer]. Warren Spicer [the president of Casino] said `unh-unh, you use my radio.'166
Other effects of the new radio system include the increased estrangement between drivers. The radios prevent drivers from engaging in social chatter, such as arranging where to meet for coffee or joking with and teasing each other. Situations such as getting lost or running out of gas would have provoked considerable comment from other drivers. It also increases tension and anxiety for drivers when difficult situations arise. When one driver is in trouble or needs help, other drivers can identify that there is a problem through the dispatcher's reactions and questions, but they are unable to hear the voice of the co-worker in distress. When a driver is being robbed or assaulted it is very distressing for other drivers who are ready to rush his or her aid but can not hear clearly what is happening or where it is taking place.
The only [problem with the closed radio system] is that if you get in trouble it's a little harder to communicate. Back when we had the [open] two-ways ... you could get to each other, you could check in and the other drivers could hear.167
[When] all the cars would hear you and all you had to do was give out your location and everyone would know where you were ... now you've got to got through the dispatch system and they always want to know what's going on so they waste so much time, so you're on your own.168
Even under normal working conditions this communication system serves to isolate drivers from each other, contributing to the alienation. The gulf between drivers and dispatchers increased when brokers improved on their radio technology.
Within a decade of the introduction of the closed radios, brokers began to purchase and install radios equipped with identification systems or "I.D." radios. These first appeared in the late 1970's and were gradually installed in Casino and Yellow Cab offices. By the mid 1980's all drivers at Casino and many drivers at Yellow Cab were using I.D. radios. This system automatically registers an identification number at the dispatch centre when the driver keys his or her microphone. Without speaking a word the drivers were identified at the office and could take calls without ever speaking to the dispatcher. This system had the addition impact of separating drivers from dispatchers.
The I.D. radio system offered addition control over driver behaviour. The manager of Casino Taxi, Phil Harritt, said the new radios "stopped guys from playing with the two-ways."169 Harritt was referring to a problem called "jamming" the radio. With both the open and the closed system, without identification numbers, drivers could key their microphones open and effectively jam the radio system, preventing calls from going out to any drivers. The I.D. radios prevent drivers from anonymously disrupting the office; therefore, controlling one method of driver protest.170
The introduction of new radio systems has also increased the gulf between brokers and drivers. By installing their own radio equipment brokers increased their control over the means of production, eliminated one method of worker protest and gained a powerful threat: "I'll take your radio out." At the same time drivers lost a valuable link with each other, which affected their safety and their sense of community. Unable to hear each other's voices and talk to one another, drivers become increasingly alienated in a work environment that already focuses on independence and competition.
Although driver independence is often challenged by regulators and brokers attempting to standardize the industry and control the drivers, the varied responses to these controls demonstrate the degree to which drivers remain independent. In addition to their ambiguous response to the broker controlled closed radio system, drivers have diverging views on brokers' attempts to dictate their physical appearance. Office policies on hair length, moustaches, and beards, like ordinance regulations on dress code, were designed to ensure that drivers maintained a particular appearance, one that is within the parametres of middle class standards. Even within the ranks of the most conservative office, drivers disagree on the merits of such policies. One driver describes her broker's rules on personal appearance,
hair length ... can't be below the collar, men can't have sideburns below the ears, [men are also] not allowed [to have] a beard. They are allowed to have a moustache as long as it doesn't go below the bottom of the lip. [They] can't grow it down [past the bottom lip] or up [to create a handlebar moustache].171
The city ordinance includes regulations on drivers' clothing; however, some brokers enforce the dress code more strictly than others. Brokers have been known to send drivers home to change their clothes if they are seen wearing shorts or a shirt without a collar. Some drivers continue to challenge these rules and are heard being called to the office to be reprimanded for their `grooming infractions'. When asked if drivers always conform to these regulations one driver responded, "not if we can help it."172 However, other drivers claim that they agree with the brokers' attempts to dictate the personal appearance of drivers:
If somebody gets in your taxi and you got your shorts on up to here, no socks on, you [have] bare feet and your balls hanging out, that looks nice now doesn't it?173
According to this driver, left to their own devices drivers would not maintain a `respectable' appearance and would offend the sensibilities of their customers. Drivers who agree with office policies on grooming habits also agree that taxi drivers need to be controlled. Within an industry that demands the highest degree of independence from its workers, policies on the most elementary habits of personal grooming seem incongruous. While some find broker control of their personal appearance intolerable, others endorse it. The varied response among drivers to these controls indicates more than the characteristic independence of taxi drivers, it becomes an issue of class. Those drivers who agree with these policies perceive that other drivers need to be controlled because they do not share the middle class notions of respectability that the brokers are trying to enforce. By endorsing the brokers' controls drivers suggest that their standards of behaviour and appearance are closer to those of their broker than those of their fellow drivers. Therefore, some drivers consider themselves to be more `respectable,' or more middle class, than other drivers. This separation of drivers according to class is largely an artificial division because, by virtue of their common occupation, all drivers are working class. In this sense the controls of the brokers and regulators serve to drive a wedge between drivers by encouraging artificial divisions surrounding issues of personal appearance that are out of place in an industry which claims drivers are independent. Therefore, these policies divide drivers according to notions of respectability and personal appearance, and illustrate the paradox of driver independence.
In addition to being divided over issues of broker control and drivers are divided by the very nature of the taxi business. The nature of competition among taxi drivers differs significantly from competition among wage labour. "Workers must competitively sell their labour power - their skills, talents, and energies - in order to survive."174 Taxi drivers must compete directly with one another for all their earnings. When business is particularly slow the competitive element becomes more noticeable. Drivers talking about recent years in Halifax note the increased incidence of drivers stealing calls. "I think the drivers are dog eat dog. They're cutting each other off, stealing their calls. Never happened before."175
You get a lot of these independents out there and they've got scanners in their cars. Yellow Cab has a direct line down at ... St. Mary's [University], and they send a car to Rice, they get down there and there's nobody there. What they're doing, they're parked in the alleyway, in the driveway, and they're listening to us or to Casino and as soon as they hear Loyola or high-rise one, boom - they're there.176
With increased competition for calls some drivers ignore courtesies common in the industry, such as giving the right-of-way at a stand to the driver who approached the stand first.
[I]f you're coming up to a stand and somebody's there waiting to make a turn you always let them go first. Not any more, they cut you right off. `Forget it, I'm first' ... it's just dog eat dog, I've never seen it so bad.177
Stealing calls and disregarding the proper order on stands can foster resentment among drivers and prevent cooperation.
In this sense, difficult economic times act as a double-edged sword for the taxi community. All drivers become more aware of the difficulties within the industry and begin to demand change. Increased hardship within the industry has also driven a wedge between drivers as they become increasingly competitive in an attempt to ensure their own survival.
When drivers find their earnings reduced it not only affects their attitudes toward cooperation, it can also directly inhibit participation in organized demonstrations. When two or three hundred drivers decide to join in protest, other drivers see the opportunity to take advantage of their absence and work during the scheduled protest.
The first one [taxi demonstration] I just made two spins around [the route], and did my thing. Second one I just went down and out again. Just made an appearance downtown and [I was] gone. Working. [the dispatcher] was nice enough not to give [out our car] numbers [when we took calls] ... That way the drivers wouldn't say `You scab ... you weren't down there [down town]' ... [during the first demonstration] they [the drivers on strike] were down town writing the numbers down of the drivers that were working.178
This driver was clearly ambiguous about whether to work or to demonstrate with the other drivers. Participating for part of the protest demonstrates that the driver supports the group initiative but also feels pressure to continue working. Because of the competitive structure of the industry drivers must balance personal interest against collective interest. As demonstrated in the section on drivers' interaction with regulators, drivers show considerable unity on certain issues. Therefore, in the struggle between individualism and collectivism the balance can shift according to the issue at hand.
In addition to workplace alienation, driver collectivism is inhibited by government legislation. Ironically, taxi drivers are barred from unionization by the Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia, thus preventing an important expression of driver unity and opportunity for collective action.
In 1975 the Taxi Union of Nova Scotia made an application for certification. Yellow Cab contested. After a two day hearing the Labour Relations Board decided in favour of the broker and found that taxi drivers were not employees according to the Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia.179 The Act defines employee as "a person employed to do skilled or unskilled manual, clerical or technical work."180
Although taxi drivers are not considered employees of the taxi companies neither are they completely independent. At best their independence is qualifiable. In other industries with complex relationships between workers and companies distinctions have been made to better define "employee." Within the Nova Scotia Trade Union Act employees on fishing vessels are expressly defined indicating that their employment status might otherwise be misinterpreted under the Act.181 According to the Act an employee includes
a person employed or engaged on fishing vessels of all types or in the operation of these vessels on water, if he is paid wages or salary or accepts or agrees to accept a percentage or other part of the proceeds of the adventure or of the catch in lieu of or in addition to wages182
The taxi driver who "rents" a car on a commission basis has a similar position of ownership and remuneration, but is not considered an employee under the Act. Although the Nova Scotia Act has not distinguished the employment status of commission drivers, the Internal Revenue Service in the United States has.
In 1971 ... the IRS ruled that lease drivers who agree to pay a fleet owner a percentage of their metreed fares rather than a flat fee per time period are employees of the fleet owner regardless of the degree of independence declared by their lease contracts.183
There is clearly a strong similarity between the Nova Scotia legislation regarding fishermen and the American interpretation of the lease driver who receives a percentage of the taxi's metreed earnings. Clearly, the Nova Scotia labour laws have not addressed the complex nature of employment in all industries equally, and specifically not the taxi industry.
It is possible to have many distinctions of employment within one industry. In 1977 the Ontario Labour Relations Board recognized that construction workers might be either employees, dependent contractors, or independent contractors.184 Two years before this case the Ontario Labour Relations Act was amended to include dependent contractors as employees. In this case the dependent contractor is given the same legislative treatment, and the same protection of collective bargaining rights as employees.185 Although it is not recognized in the labour legislation of Nova Scotia, taxi drivers, like construction workers, fall into several categories of independence.
When determining whether an individual is an employee or independently employed several factors must be considered including remuneration, ownership of tools, and control of the relationship. In the case of taxi drivers the question of control would apply to the relationship between the broker and the driver.
In the taxi industry there are different ways which drivers receive income. Drivers may own their vehicle or rent one. Paying a wage to drivers is not common; it presents particular problems in the taxi industry because of the limit on the owner's ability to control drivers and the number of fares they collect. The primary concern for owners is to ensure their own earnings, not the drivers'. The taxi companies, therefore, do not control remuneration. The absence of wages commonly associated with "employees" indicates that taxi drivers are independent.
Other key issues involved in considering employment status are ownership and control of the work environment. The relationship between ownership and worker control is complicated in the taxi industry. Brokers exercise considerable control over the means of production yet drivers retain a large degree of independence. Raymond Russell, a sociologist who has studied the Boston taxi industry suggests little or no difference in control as it relates to ownership of the taxi.186 Regardless of whether drivers own, rent, or drive on commission, each has control over whether or not to use the radio dispatching, each is expected to conform to the rules of the office and the dispatching service, and each is on his or her own to compete for business.187 Russell's observation apply to Halifax drivers as well. Although a driver who rents a car by shift is more limited in his or her choice of work pattern, all drivers begin and end work, and take meals and breaks as they wish with no scheduled work hours.
Although drivers enjoy considerable freedom, determining when and how they work, they are also subject to the control of brokers. They are arbitrarily dismissed from offices, and often dictated to by their broker on issues of appearance and behaviour. In this sense drivers are controlled by brokers in the same manner as employees. Clearly drivers are neither wage labour nor completely independent. This ambiguous status is reflected in the drivers' attitude toward their work and their relationship to each other. There is a popular image of the taxi driver as the last cowboy and many drivers claim this image for themselves.188
The bottom line is that you're on your own. Out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. Outnumbered! That ain't a cowboy?189
The work demands independence and self reliance and a good deal of adventure seeking. However, there is more than independent character separating drivers. They have been increasingly alienated from one another by the brokers, legislation and the conditions of their work environment. Therefore, when drivers say "you couldn't get two of [us] to agree," they are referring as much to alienation as they are to independent character. When all these factors are considered taxi drivers have demonstrated a significant degree of community action and cooperation.
United They Stand: Expressions of Community Among Drivers
Despite the inherently competitive nature of the taxi business, drivers share a common work experience that often serves to unite them. Although the position of the taxi driver is neither explicitly capital nor labour, the common work culture indicates that drivers share a working class experience.
The notion of culture used by historians Susan Porter Benson and Herbert Gutman is, as stated by Sidney Mintz, "a kind of resource." Benson elaborates stating that culture is:
"the set of frameworks, attitudes, and accepted standards of behaviour that one draws upon in dealing with society, the real-work circumstances in which people live their lives."190
Taxi drivers demonstrate their distinct culture through their specific frameworks, attitudes, and behaviours practised within their community.
New drivers are initiated into the taxi community. They are instructed on work strategy and told there is a distinct culture among taxi drivers. The more experienced drivers will tell rookies that there is an important distinction between themselves, taxi drivers, and people who drive taxis. To a rookie driver this advice seems cryptic at first, but after a few months behind the wheel one rookie driver discovers that:
A taxi driver has a way of life. [Some]one who drives taxi has an occupation. One [the taxi driver] is a subculture the other is a job.191
More obvious is the separation between taxi drivers and members of the public. On a day-to-day basis drivers express community consciousness by distinguishing between members of the taxi community and people in the larger community of the city. Even on the busiest nights of the year drivers will stop working to help another driver with car problems. Drivers do not charge one another for boosting a battery with jumper cables, a service which costs a customer $11.00. The same distinction between drivers and the public is applied to driving each other. Although the `off-duty' driver using a taxi generally pays for the service, the exchange is often conducted differently when it is between two drivers. Drivers who are familiar with one another may not charge each other at all. Drivers will also leave the metre off and charge only a nominal fee, or let the person they are driving decide the amount. These exchanges often involve the drivers taking only a portion of what their passenger has offered. This standard of behaviour reinforces the attitude that differentiates between members of the taxi community and members of the public.
Similarly the standard of behaviour around coffee purchases and cigarettes demonstrates a bond among drivers. Coffees are routinely purchased for other drivers and dispatchers. Cigarettes are also generously shared. One account of a driver who bummed a cigarette from another demonstrates that not every driver shares in these common standards of behaviour:
One time I came in [the Ardmore Restaurant] without cigarettes ... [and] I asked Lucifer [not his actual name] for a cigarette and he looked at me as if to say he couldn't possibly spare a ... cigarette. I said "I'll pay for it." He gave me the cigarette and of course I forgot to pay [because that was not the standard of behaviour] and he reminded me. I didn't have any change on me and now I was embarrassed that I had said I would pay but ... wasn't really prepared to. Finally I asked one of the other drivers for a quarter, I don't even remember his name, we hardly ever sat at the same table, but he threw me a quarter without any question.192
Although Lucifer did not behave in accordance with the accepted pattern of freely sharing cigarettes, the other drivers demonstrated that exchanges of small amounts of money or goods are performed without ceremony. By casually buying each other coffee and sharing cigarettes without regard for cost, drivers express a familiarity with one another which is similar to kinship.
For taxi drivers, the workplace is the site of continuous community activity. Drivers gather at Tim Horton's doughnut shops and at local diners, such as the Ardmore Tea Room and Johnny's Snack Bar, to take their coffee breaks and their meals. Like the lunch rooms in factories and department stores, the counters of coffee shops and diners become a place to meet other workers, to share stories, to bum a cigarette, and relax together. The taxi office can also serve as a gathering place to drink coffee and talk. Although some offices have policies against the drivers congregating there, drivers routinely ignore the rules. Almost any office will have some drivers visiting late at night and on the weekends when the management is not around to enforce policy.
Coffee breaks and meal times provide the opportunity to engage in the time-honoured tradition of story telling. Drivers share the numerous and unusual adventures they have had while driving. They refer to their stories as "war stories" because of the frequent references to conflict and danger on the job. Stories are often about not being paid, being robbed, and defending themselves against robbery, assault or police harassment. Both the recent stories and the old favourites are told, reinforcing both continuity and community. These stories offer entertainment and serve to educate new drivers to the work environment and introduce them to the work culture.
The cultural significance of storytelling among taxi drivers has been explored by American folklorist Philip Nusbaum. Nusbaum looks at storytelling among New York City taxi drivers to observe the generation of expressive culture among the drivers.193 He suggests that the "stylistic organization of cab drivers' stories" is an example of "blue-collar creativity" because of the artful ability to keep an interaction going by responding to what someone says while portraying relevant events in a fashion meaningful to the work culture. Although Nusbaum does not define culture, he suggests that taxi drivers have a specific culture related to their work. Stories are "culturally correct," or "acceptable to the members of the culture" when they contain the kinds of characters and activities that are relevant to them. Nusbaum says that "in the culture of New York City cab drivers, what is relevant, primarily, is cab driving itself."194
In addition to the content of the stories, the circumstances of the conversations among drivers is often specific to their work culture. As Nusbaum observes, drivers often have an opportunity to gather and talk while waiting for a fare, on taxi stands and at airports, train stations, and hotels. Waiting for passengers can often afford enough time for drivers to talk, but these conversations are governed by accepted standards of behaviour peculiar to their work culture. Nusbaum explains that:
these conversations are understood by cab drivers to be contingent upon the nature of the occupation: such meetings are secondary to getting to work ... accepting a passenger often breaks off conversation in mid-flight without the slightest offense taken.195
A leisurely conversation at the Halifax Airport will necessarily be cut short when passengers suddenly appear. The suspension of certain social norms of communication indicate a standard of behaviour specific to the work culture. The fleeting nature of these conversations also illustrates a pattern common throughout the drivers' work culture. As Nusbaum points out, these meetings are of a "chance nature,":
they are unplanned, and drivers have no prior knowledge of whom they will meet in such circumstances. Relationships develop on the spur of the moment, and are marked by their impermanence.196
In the smaller city, Halifax taxi drivers establish more lasting relationships. However, their impromptu conversations reflect the uncertainty of the work experience. In turn, their work experience molds their work culture.
From the first passenger they serve until they return home, taxi drivers' daily work experiences are unplanned. Drivers do not know from one call to the next where they will be going; there is always the possibility of a "road trip" or a call which takes them out of the city, county, or province, sometimes even out of the country. More frequently in the past drivers might be asked to drive to Boston or other locations in the Eastern United States. It is still not uncommon for a call to take the driver an hour or more out of the city, and out of radio contact with the office. There is always an element of personal risk. As one retired driver aptly phrased it "you can always get hit over the head."197 For those drivers who own their own vehicle there is also the risk of the expense of accidents and repairs. The impromptu conversations and temporary exchanges between drivers illustrate the temporary and tentative nature of their larger work patterns.
The uncertainty of the work environment and the strong sense of community combine to create strong bonds of friendship which develop quickly and do not adhere to the normal standard of workplace relationships. Drivers will often turn to each other for assistance or support with problems unrelated to the work environment. One driver writes:
Last weekend was the funeral for Sneakers' life long friend Melvin. I attended the service with Davie [Sneakers] then we held our own wake between the Hub in Dartmouth and my place. We drank all day Saturday and into early hours of Sunday morning.198
Asking another driver to attend the funeral of a close friend demonstrates that the bond among drivers often exceeds those expected and experienced in other work environments. Similarly, so does the sacrifice of the lucrative weekend business by the driver willing to spend time with another driver in need.
In addition to informal and impromptu shared experiences at work, taxi drivers sometimes take part in organized events, such as the annual taxi driver picnic organized by the Taxi Bureau Society. The annual picnics offer drivers an opportunity to enjoy some leisure time together and build common bonds. While enjoying games and a barbecue they can talk with other drivers while their children play together. A larger sense of community thus reinforces the mutual experiences of work and the expression of a common work-oriented culture.
More culturally specific than the annual picnics, Halifax drivers have participated in events such as the Safe Driving Rodeo held on 27 August 1989. Drivers gathered at a local shopping centre parking lot on a Sunday afternoon and drove an obstacle course to test their driving skills. In keeping with their work culture, the drivers were competing with one another to demonstrate who was the most accomplished driver, but they also maintained a strong sense of community by competing in teams, for the highest collective scores. Thus the rodeo acted as an opportunity to share leisure time together in an atmosphere that was specific to drivers' work experience and culture.
In times of crisis the bonds between drivers and the separation from the public is expressed more strongly.
before [when a driver was in trouble] all the cars could hear you and all you had to do was give your location and everyone would know where you were and then it was like the marines were coming. The boys would come, because we always did. We always stuck together when a guy was in trouble, always.199
The act of sticking together also applies to altruistic acts when drivers can no longer provide for themselves or their families. For example, when one of the woman drivers at Y taxi was assaulted by her passengers and suffered a broken jaw, several drivers in the office donated money to assist with her expenses while she recovered. A more dramatic example of this type of spontaneous organization occurred after Ronald Henderson, a Halifax taxi driver, was murdered. Approximately one hundred seventy five members of the industry gathered to discuss holding benefit nights at local clubs to raise money, and creating a trust fund for his family.200 The drivers' perception of the public as perpetrator and the driver as victim adds to the social distance drivers feel between themselves and their passengers, and contributes to the "us and them" mentality. Thus, being reminded of the extreme risks they face at work, drivers' sense of vulnerability contributes to their sense of community.
Story telling, picnics, the safe driving rodeo, and the altruistic acts of aiding one another represent community activity centred on work culture rather than worker protest. These activities differ significantly from other examples of collective activity because they show that drivers come together to enjoy and support one another. It is these strong bonds of community emerging from the drivers' work culture that allows them to participate in collective action despite the numerous forces pulling them apart. The competitive nature and class structure of the industry often pits driver against driver, driver against broker, driver against regulator, and driver against customer. It is against these odds that drivers have increasingly united forces to challenge the rule of brokers, seek improved regulations, and participate in community activities. In light of their independent character, and their alienating work environment, Halifax taxi drivers demonstrate a remarkable degree of community consciousness and collective action.
1 Ramsay Cook, "The Making of Canadian Working-Class History", Historical Reflections, 10 (1983), 117; E. P. Thompson, Making of the English Working Class (Middlesex 1980); For the American application see Herbert Gutman, "Work, Culture, and Society" in Industrializing America: Essays in American Working-Class and Social History, (New York 1976).
2 Bryan D. Palmer, Working Class Experience: Rethinking the History of Canadian Labour, 1800-1991 (Toronto 1992), 21-22.
3 The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, (New York 1987), 488.
4 Palmer, Working-Class Experience (Toronto 1992), 20-21.
5 Gutman, "Work, Culture, and Society", 16; Susan Porter Benson, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores 1890-1940 (Urbana 1986), 3.
6 Benson, Counter Cultures (Urbana 1986), 3.
7 Benso, Counter Cultures (Urbana 1986), 227.
8 Bryan D. Palmer, A Culture In Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860-1914 (Montreal 1979) chapter two Working Class Experience (Toronto 1992), 13 and
9 Cook, "Making of Canadian Working Class History," 124.
10 David Bercuson, "Through the Looking Glass: An Essay on the New Labour History and Working-Class Culture in Recent Canadian Historical Writing" Labour/LeTravail 7 (Spring 1981), 98.
11 Palmer, Working Class Experience (Toronto 1992), 19.
12 Bercuson, "Through the Looking Glass of Culture," 98.
13 Bercuson, "Through the Looking Glass of Culture," 108.
14 Palmer, Working Class Experience (Toronto 1992), 20-21.
15 James M. Henslin, "The Cab Driver: An Interactional Analysis of An Occupational Subculture," unpublished doctoral dissertation, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1967; Richard Schlosberg, "A Descriptive Analysis of the New York City Taxi Industry," unpublished Master's Thesis, Hunter College, New York City, 1975; Richard Schlosberg, "Taxi Driving: A Study of Occupational Tension," unpublished doctoral dissertation, City University of New York, 1980.
16 Henslin, "Trust and the Cab Driver," in Marcello Truzzi, ed., Sociology and Everyday Life (Englewood Cliffs 1968), 138. Henslin's published work also include: George Psathas and James Henslin, "Dispatched Orders and the Cab Driver: A Study of Locating Activities," Social Problems, 14 (1967), 424-443; "Craps and Magic," American Journal of Sociology, 1967.
17 Charles N. Morris, "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment in A Sample of New York City Taxi Drivers," unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1951.
18 Morris, "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment," 112.
19 Morris, "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment," 119.
20 Morris, "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment," 121.
21 Morris, "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment," 120.
22 Schlosberg uses the theoretical analysis from Erving Goffman, Asylums (Garden City 1961). Simply put primary adjustment is characterized by cooperative behaviour and secondary adjustment is characterized by more rebellious behaviour. For a more specific definition of Goffman's primary and secondary adjustments see Schlosberg "A Descriptive Analysis," 20 and 25.
23 See Albert Cohen and Harold M. Hodges, "Characteristics of the Lower Blue-
Collar Class," Social Problems, 10 (1963), 303-333.
24 Schlosberg, "A Descriptive Analysis," 18.
25 Schlosberg, "Taxi Driving: A Study of Occupational Tension," unpublished dissertation, City University of New York, 1980.
26 Schlosberg, "Taxi Driving," 79.
27 Henslin, "Trust and the Cab Driver," 140.
28 Fred Davis, "The Cabdriver and His Fare: Facets of a Fleeting Relationship,"American Journal of Sociology, (1959), 158-165.
29 Davis, "The Cabdriver and His Fare," 163-164.
30 Robert L. Karen, "Some Factors Affecting Tipping Behaviour", Sociology and Social Research, 47 (1962), 68-74.
31 Karen, "Some Factors Affecting Tipping Behaviour", 73.
32 David J. Trojan, "Comment on the Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service," Wisconsin Sociologist 13 (Fall 1976), 132-138.
33 Trojan, "Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service", 134.
34 Charles Vidich, The New York Cab Driver and His Fare (Cambridge 1976).
35 Vidich, New York Cab Driver (Cambridge 1976). Vidich uses the term "common whore" as a labour term, which refers to scab labour. The connotation is that scab labourers are more concerned with making money than with the solidarity of the union.
36 According to taxi regulations in New York only taxi drivers who operate with taxi medallions may pick up customers on the street. Taxi medallions are distributed and regulated by the city and are expensive to purchase. Taxi services which operate by radio only are not as lucrative. There are a number of drivers who operate taxis and pick up passengers on the street without medallions. These drivers may or may not be licensed as radio taxis and may or may not have radios. These drivers are referred to a "gypsies". The connotation is that they are operating outside the law.
37 John Gordon, "In the Hot Seat: The Story of the New York Taxi Rank and File Coalition," Radical America, 17 (1983), 27-43.
38 Gordon, "In the Hot Seat", 29.
39 Gordon, "In the Hot Seat", 29.
40 Gordon, "In the Hot Seat", 29.
41 Raymond Russell, "Class Formation in the Workplace: the Role of Source of Income," Work and Occupation, 10 (1983), 349-372; "The Role of Culture and Ethnicity in the Degeneration of Democratic Firms," Economics and Industrial Democracy, 5 (1984), 73-96.
42 Russell, "Class Formation," 364.
43 Edward Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1936-1945," Nova Scotia
Historical Review, 12 (1992), 66-73.
44 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers," 72.
45 Bercuson, "Through the Looking Glass of Culture," 99.
46 A survey of the names of the licensed taxi drivers indicates that less than 3% are women, and less than 20% have first and last names that indicate a distinct and visible ethnic or racial minority. Halifax Police Department (hereafter HPD) computer printout of licensed taxi drivers dated 28 October 1994.
47 "Muscles" a fifteen-year veteran of the industry estimates that the majority of taxi drivers are from "lower income" families. For further discussion of the public perception of the economic and social status of taxi drivers see Trojan, "Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service".
48 Trojan, "Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service"
49 Trojan, "Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service", 134.
50 Interview with "Muscles," dispatcher and ex-taxi driver, Halifax, 11 March 1995.
51 Interview with Mary Sheppard, taxi driver, Halifax, 22 February 1995.
52 Interview with Basil Surrette, dispatcher and ex-taxi driver, Halifax, 22 February 1995.
53 Kimberly Williams [Berry], unpublished diary, in the author's possession, April 7 1989. The author was a taxi driver in Halifax, February 1987 to October 1990.
54 Each taxi in Halifax is annually inspected by the licensing division of the Halifax Police Department. Cars which do not pass inspection and submit proof of proper insurance by 31 April each year are not permitted to operate as taxis.
55 Because there are no scheduled shifts made by the office, drivers who own their own cars can work any hours they choose. Although many drivers will occasionally change their work pattern from days to nights and vice versa, most drivers will be consistently either day or night drivers.
56 The term broker or brokerage refers to the taxi company and/or its owner(s).
57 Yellow Cab, Ace, Y, and Armdale are all owned by the same broker, Derek Mathers, and are located in one building at 2756 Gladstone St. Halifax. Although they are in the same building each company operates with a separate radio system and separate telephone numbers, except Ace and Y which shared telephone and radio systems before they were sold to Mathers.
58 When the dispatcher transmits, all drivers can hear. When
drivers transmit, only the dispatcher can hear. Drivers are unable to transmit to each other. The exception to this rule is Armdale taxi, where the newer equipment offering the closed system has not yet been installed. For further information on dispatching calls see George Psathas and James M. Henslin, "Dispatched Orders and the Cab Driver: A Study of Locating Activities", Social Problems, 14 (1967), 428.
59 Interview with Philip Herritt, manager of Casino taxi and ex-taxi driver, Halifax, 29 March 1995.
60 These relationships are not uncommon and there does not appear to be any company policies regarding it.
61 Interview with Jack Schneider, taxi driver, Halifax, 22 March 1995. Mr. Schneider spoke of a driver who allegedly gives dispatchers at their office cash gifts at Christmas.
62 Interview with "Muscles," dispatcher and former taxi driver, Halifax, 11 March 1995.
63 Kimberly Berry, unpublished memoir, in the author's possession, 22 April 1995.
64 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995. Mr. Robb also remembers the story of one women driver who was sexually assaulted by a passenger.
65 City Taxi is an example of such an office. There is a phone number for the company but there is no radio dispatch system.
66 Today most offices are charging approximately $83.00 a week for office rent. Large offices like Casino have approximately two hundred cars which nets them about $16 600.00 weekly.
67 Renting a car costs the driver approximately $50.00 a day plus gas, therefore, the driver has to make at least $75.00 before he or she begins to earn any money.
68 "Driver Had to Coax Passengers into City's First Motor Taxi 24 [sic] Years Ago," Halifax Mail January 13, 1945 18.
69 "Driver Had to Coax Passengers" According to the article at that time only a half dozen people in Halifax owned gasoline-driven vehicles.
70 A barouche is a "four wheeled carriage with a high front seat outside for the driver [and] facing seats inside for two couples and a calash top over the back seat." For an illustration see Random House Dictionary of the English Language 2nd edition unabridged (New York 1987), 170.
71 Halifax City Clerks Office (hereafter H.C.C.O.), City Hall, Hack and Truck Minute Book. The minute book describes the location of each hack stand and under each stand lists the names of the hack owners whose vehicles are assigned to that stand. Beside each name is a number, which appears to designate how many vehicles he (the hack owners at this time appear to be exclusively male) has assigned to the stand. When the numbers are high there are also notations instructing how many of his vehicles can be on the stand at one time. The pages of the minute book are not numbered, however this entry can be found between the entries of 3 August, 1906 and 15 July, 1908.
72 "Driver Had to Coax Passengers".
73 "Driver Had to Coax Passengers".
74 Public Archives of Nova Scotia (hereafter P.A.N.S.), Halifax Uplift Scrapbook, MG 1 vol 373 no. 1. "Halifax Uplift Bulletin No. 14" July 14, 1910.
75 F. H. Bell and R. T. MacIlreith, The Halifax City Charter with the Ordinances and By-Laws (1914), 342-347. Halifax City Ordinance No. 14 "Regulation of Hacks."
76 Halifax City Regional Library (hereafter H.C.R.L.) Halifax City Council Minutes 1919-1920, 5 June, 1919 26; for information on the evolution of hack and taxi services see Kimberly Berry, "The Halifax Taxi Industry: The Evolution and Adjustment of Local Business," unpublished paper, Dalhousie University, 1995.
77 Henry Roper, "The Halifax Board of Control: The Failure of Municipal Reform, 1906-1919," Acadiensis 14 (2) 46 and 48.
78 Roper, "The Halifax Board of Control".
79 Roper, "The Halifax Board of Control", 56.
80 Roper, "The Halifax Board of Control", 56.
81 H.C.R.L. Board of Control Minutes 1913-1914, 16 July, 1913
82 H.C.R.L. Board of Control Minutes 1913-1914, 16 July, 1913 201-202.
83 H.C.R.L. City Council Minutes 29 July 1913 129.
84 H.C.R.L. Board of Control minutes 8 August, 1913 277.
85 H.C.R.L. Board of Control minutes 8 August, 1913 277.
86 Board of Control minutes July 4, 1913 172.
87 Board of Control minutes July 4, 1913 172.
88 H.C.R.L., The Halifax City Charter with Ordinances and By-Laws 1914 347.
89 Although it is not in the Hack ordinance, there is mention of the Inspector of Hacks being a police officer in the Council minutes of 9 July, 1914. H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1914-1915, 9 July, 1914 126.
90 The image of the taxi driver as dishonest is a consistent theme
throughout much of the literature. See Vidich, The New York Cab Driver and His Fare; Henslin, "Trust and the Cab Driver;" and Davis, "The Cab driver and His Fare: Facets of a Fleeting Relationship."
91 Business is generally good on Fridays, and downtown, where most hack and cabs operated, is especially busy during lunch time.
92 H.C.R.L. City Council Minutes 1919-1920, 5 June 1919 26.
93 H.C.R.L. City Council Minutes 1919-1920, 5 June 1919 345. The ordinance does not identify which clerk should certify that the death was not caused by infectious or contagious disease nor how a driver might assist someone wanting a body transported locate such a clerk.
94 Interview with Walter Wilson, son of Mr. Walter Clifton Wilson one of the city's first licensed embalmers who worked for John R. Snow and Son, 31 March 1995.
95 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1916-1917, 15 May 1916 46 ff.
96 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1919-1920, 5 June, 1919 52.
97 There are four letters requesting taxi licences be granted despite late application. All are from returning soldiers. None of the letters are documented in the minute book, they are simply tucked between the pages.
98 H.C.C.O. Hack and Truck Minute Book 1897-1919, letter from Lieut. O. Gibbons dated 14 July 1919.
99 H.C.C.O. Hack and Truck Minute Book 1897-1919, letter from Chas. A. Norton Jr. dated 10 July 1919.
100 H.C.C.O. Hack and Truck Minute Book 1897-1919, from LeFort [first name is illegible], dated 21 July 1919.
101 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes, 15 December 1932 394; 13 September 1934 260; 11 April 1935 773.
102 H.C.R.L. Council Minutes 1938-1939, 12 May 1938 53 ff. Before taxi meters, see "Regulation of Hacks" 1914 346-347.
103 H.C.R.L. Council Minutes 1938-1939, May 1938.
104 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1934-35, 261, Fraser to Cragg, 13 September 1934.
105 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1934-35, 261, Fraser to Cragg, 13 September 1934.
106 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1938-39, 15 September 1938, 272.
107 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1938-39, 15 September 1938, 272.
108 H.C.R.L. City Council Minutes 1940-41, 16 January 1941, 391; H.C.R.L. City Council Minutes 1941-42, 15 May 1941 19.
109 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945," 72 ff.
110 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944, 457.
111 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945", 72-73.
112 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945", 72.
113 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944 459.
114 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944, 456.
115 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944, 459.
116 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944, 459; Edward Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers" 72. The Department of
Transit Control was a federal department and along with City Council held power and authority to control the taxi Pool.
117 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1943-44, 24 January 1944, 460A.
118 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945", 73.
119 Interview with Percy Clark, retired taxi driver, Halifax, 28
120 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945", 70.
121 Sutton, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945".
122 Interview with Percy Clark, retired taxi driver, Halifax, 28
123 H.C.C.O, Hara Associates, "City of Halifax Taxi Licence Limitation Study," 20 June 1994 9 ff.
124 H.C.R.L. Halifax City Council Minutes 1957, 14 March 1957 204.
125 H.C.R.L., Halifax City Council Minutes 1919-1929, 19 June 1919 52; H.C.R.L., Halifax City Council Minutes 1946 238.
126 Halifax City Clerks Office, Taxi Commission Files, Blois Nickerson Palmeter and Bryson to Members of Council, 11 December 1969.
127 "Union Taxi: 40 cab drivers succeed in bucking the system," The 4th Estate 11 February 1976 4.
128 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver and member of Union Taxi, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
129 "Union Taxi" The 4th Estate 11 February 1976 4.
130 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver and member of Union Taxi, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
131 Interview with Gordon Robb, former driver and member of Union Taxi, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
132 Halifax City Clerks Office, Taxi Commission Files, minutes from public meeting held 17 May 1976.
133 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission Files, 17 May 1976 to 9 June 1976.
134 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission Files, Halifax City Council Minutes 17 June 1976.
135 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission File 1976, Taxi Committee Minutes 5 August 1976 2.
136 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission File 1977, Report of the Taxi Committee, 2 June 1977 28.
137 There were 935 licensed taxi drivers in Halifax in October 1976. Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission File 1976, John
Tofflemire Traffic Management Board to Taxi Committee, 3 December 1976, regarding Taxi Limitation Report.
138 The provision establishing the Halifax Taxi Commission was included in amendments to Ordinance 116 [Taxi Ordinance] adopted 15 June 1978 and the first meeting of the Commission was held 29 November 1978. See Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 29 November 1978 1.
139 One significant policy change during this period was the introduction of new radio systems. Brokers began to install their own radios in the drivers' cars and introduced "closed" radio systems and I.D. radios.
140 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 12 September 1979 26. According to the Halifax Police Department statistics on taxi licenses, submitted to the Taxi Commission 4 March 1980, there were 1066 licensed taxi drivers.
141 Halifax City Clerk Office, Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 16 October 1979 30.
142 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 16 October 1979 30.
143 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 6 December 1983 138, and 10 January 1984 142.
144 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 14 October 1986 1.
145 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 14 October 1986 1.
146 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 4 November 1986 7.
147 "Cab firm's petition defends `private enterprise'" The Chronicle-Herald Tuesday, 21 October 1986 2.
148 "Blockades threatened as cabbies back open stands," Daily News 3 July 1987.
149 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 5 October 1982 86.
150 The referendum was held at the police station in the spring of the year just after taxi inspections were due. Several drivers would cast their ballot while at the police station to have their vehicles inspected and renew their license.
151 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 22 November 1982 90, and Taxi Commission Minutes 1988-, 31 August 1993 1.
152 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1988-, 19 August 1993 2-3.
153 "Solemn cab parade fills downtown," The Daily News 18 August 1993; "Taxi drivers take protest to front door," The Daily News 31 August 1994.
154 "Solemn cab parade fills downtown", The Daily News 18 August 1993.
155 "Solemn cab parade fills downtown".
156 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1988-, 2 September 1993; "Taxi board OK's freeze on new cabby licences," The Daily News 3 September 1993.
157 "City OK's one-year freeze on number of cab drivers," Halifax Chronicle Harold 23 September 1993.
158 Steve Thorne, "Recent cab fare vote `not a true reflection' of industry," The Mail Star 13 October 1982 18.
159 Interview with Basil Surrette, dispatcher and retired driver, conducted Wednesday February 22, 1995.
160 James W. Rinehart, The Tyranny of Work: Alienation and the Labour Process second edition, (Toronto 1987), 13.
161 Rinehart, The Tyranny of Work (Toronto 1987), 17.
162 Although Armdale Taxi still operates with open radios, they are
likely to be replaced soon. The company manager, Lorne Baccardax, says the radios are getting old and will eventually need to be replaced. Armdale is now owned by Derek Mathers, who also controls Yellow Cab, Ace, and Y Taxi.
163 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
164 Interview with Leon Thompson, taxi driver, Halifax, 7 March 1995.
165 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
166 Interview with Gordon Robb, former taxi driver, Cole Harbour, 6 March 1995.
167 Interview with Leon Thompson, taxi driver, Halifax, 7 March 1995.
168 Interview with Bruce Chisholm, taxi driver, Halifax 11 April 1995.
169 Interview with Phil Herritt, manager of Casino Taxi, Halifax, 29 March 1995.
170 In the course of numerous interviews I was unable to find a driver who would admit to ever having purposely jammed the radio
system. However, all drivers, at one time or other have had the experience of not being able to work with the dispatcher because of jamming. It is suspected that drivers jam the radio as a form of protest against inequities or prejudices they experience in the office.
171 Interview with Mary Sheppard, taxi driver, Halifax, 22 February 1995.
172 Interview with Mary Sheppard, taxi driver, Halifax, 22 February 1995.
173 Interview with Patrick Mason [pseudonym], taxi driver, Halifax, 7 March 1995.
174 Rinehart, The Tyranny of Work (Toronto 1987), 16.
175 Interview with Mary Sheppard, taxi driver, 22 February 1995.
176 Interview with Basil Surrette, 22 February, 1995.
177 Interview with Mary Sheppard, 22 February 1995.
178 Interview with Chris Smith [pseudonym], Halifax. This driver did not wished to be identified by car number during the demonstration; therefore, I have chosen not to identify him/her].
179 The records of the hearings to consider the arguments of the Taxi Union and Yellow Cab were not available.
180 Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia c. 475, R.S.N.S. 1989.
181 Trade Union Act of Nova Scotia c. 475, R.S.N.S. 1989. Section 1 (1) (k) (ii).
182 Nova Scotia Trade Union Act 1989 section 2 (1) (k).
183 Raymond Russell, "Class Formation in the Workplace: the role of sources of income," Work and Occupation 10 (1983), 361.
184 Teamsters Union, Local 879 and Abdo Contracting Company Limited,  2 C.L.R.B.R. 1 (O.L.R.B., Carter, Chair)
185 Teamsters Union, Local 879 and Abdo Contracting Company Limited,  2 C.L.R.B.R. 1 (O.L.R.B., Carter, Chair).
186 Russell, " Class Formation in the Workplace", 354.
187 Russell, " Class Formation in the Workplace", 354-355.
188 Bruce Livesey, "The Meter's Running: Taxi Union Drive," Our
Times December 1992 26
189 Interview with Bruce Chisholm, taxi driver, Halifax, 11 April 1995.
190 Benson, Counter Cultures, 3.
191 Kimberly Williams [Berry], unpublished diary, in the author's possession, 31 March 1987.
192 Kimberly Berry, unpublished memoir, in the author's possession, 22 April 1995.
193 Philip Nusbaum, "The Importance of Storytelling Style Among New York City Taxi Drivers," New York Folklore 67-88.
194 Nusbaum, "The Importance of Storytelling Style", 69.
195 Nusbaum, "The Importance of Storytelling Style", 70.
196 Nusbaum, "The Importance of Storytelling Style", 70.
197 Interview with Matthew O'Toole, retired taxi driver, 7 March 1995.
198 Kimberly Williams [Berry], unpublished diary, in the author's possession, 7 April 1989.
199 Interview with Bruce Chisholm, taxi driver, Halifax, 11 April 1995.
200 H.C.C.O., Taxi Commission Minutes 1978-1988, 10 April 1986 1 ff. Henderson was murdered 5 April 1986.
Halifax city records
Halifax City Regional Library (hereafter H.C.R.L.), Halifax Dartmouth Phone Book 1918.
H.C.R.L., Halifax City Council Minutes, 1908-1978.
H.C.R.L. The Halifax City Charter with the Ordinance and By-Laws (Halifax: Commissioner of Public Works and Mines, Kings Printer, 1914)
Registry of Joint Stock Companies, (hereafter RJSC) microfiche files No. 2378. W. H. Isnor and Sons Limited
RJSC, microfiche files, Airport Transfer Limited.
"Driver Had to Coax Passengers into City's First Motor Taxi 24 [sic] Years Ago", Halifax Mail January 13, 1945 p. 18.
"Michael L. Resk, Father of Five, Is Murder Victim", Mail Star December 9, 1955 p. 1.
"$1000 Reward Still On Hand For Person Solving Resk Case", Mail Star December 9, 1957 p. 1.
"40 cab drivers succeed in bucking the system", 4th Estate February 11, 1976.
"Union wants limit on number of taxis", Mail Star March 2, 1976.
"Alderman [sic] fail to make a decision on taxi rates", Mail Star October 22, 1981.
"Recent cab fare vote 'not a true reflection' of industry", Mail Star October 13, 1982 p. 18.
"Restrict number of vehicles", Mail Star November 23, 1982.
"Cabbies threaten court action", Mail Star December 15, 1982.
"Cabbies take first step to organizing [sic]", Mail Star January 19, 1983.
"City moves to get out of cab business", Mail Star July 13, 1984.
"Taxi industry must clean-up own act: Flynn", Mail Star October 15, 1984.
"Taxi arrangement 'unfair'", Mail Star October 15, 1986.
"Taxis to battle service changes", Mail Star January, 1987.
"Cabbies declare victory in private stand fight", Daily News April 15, 1987.
"Blockades threatened as cabbies back open stands" Daily News July 3, 1987.
"Cabbies plan meeting to discuss hotel ban", Daily News April 12, 1990.
"Leading taxi firm supports drivers' language training", Daily News January 10, 1992.
"Tearful Casino cab drivers urge limit on city licences", Daily News July 30, 1993.
"Cabbies call for fewer taxi licences", Daily News August 17, 1993 p. 3.
"Solemn cab parade fills downtown", Daily News August 18, 1993.
"More cabs on streets than protesters figured", Daily News August 20, 1993.
"Taxi board OKs freeze on new cabbie licences", Daily News September 3, 1993.
"Three-year cab freeze rejected", Daily News September 23, 1993
"City OKs one-year freeze on number of cab drivers", Halifax Chronicle Herald September 23, 1993.
"Halifax cabbies plead for limit", Daily News September 1, 1993.
"Halifax cabbies satisfied with limited victory", Daily News October 1, 1993.
"Taxi drivers take protest to front door", Daily News August 31, 1994.
Interviews & Diaries & Memoirs
Lorne Bacardax, manager of Yellow Cab, Halifax, February, 1995.
Bruce Chisholm, taxi driver, Halifax, April 11, 1995.
Percy Clark, ex-taxi driver, Halifax, February 28, 1995.
Robert Gillis, son of J.W. Gillis, previous owner of Yellow Cab, Halifax, 11 March 1995.
Phillip Herritt, manager of Casino Taxi, March 29 1995.
Charlie Hiltz, retired taxi driver, Halifax, March 7, 1995.
David "Darky" MacInnes, ex-taxi driver, Halifax, March 11, 1995.
Patrick Mason (pseudonym), taxi driver, Halifax, March 7, 1995.
"Muscles" (interviewee requested to be identified only as "Muscles"), dispatcher and ex-taxi driver, Halifax, March 11, 1995.
Jack Scheider, taxi driver, Halifax, March 11, 1995.
Mathew O'Toole, retired taxi driver, Halifax, March 7, 1995.
Gordon Robb, ex-taxi driver, Cole Harbour, March 6, 1995.
Ramsey Roome, retired salesman for Isnor Motors, Timberlea, March 8, 1995.
Mary Sheppard, taxi driver, Sackville, 22 February 1995.
Basil Surrette, ex-dispatcher and ex-taxi driver, Halifax, February 22, 1995.
Leon Thompson, taxi driver, Halifax, March 7, 1995.
Noel Westall, retired police officer, former member of the Halifax Taxi Commission, March 13, 1995.
Les White, previous owner of Airport Transfer and Yellow Cab, Halifax, March 10, 1995.
Walter Edmond Wilson, son of Mr. Walter Clifton Wilson, one of the city's first licensed embalmers who worked for John R. Snow and Son, 31 March, 1995.
Williams [Berry], Kimberly M., Unpublished Diaries March 29, 1987 - April 7, 1989 (in author's possession).
Berry, Kimberly M., Unpublished memiors, untitled. March 1995 -23 April 1995 (in author's possession).
Barber, Pauline, "Culture, Capital and Class Conflict in the Political Economy of Cape Breton", Journal of Historical Sociology 1990 3 (4): 362-378.
Bercusson, David J., "Through the Looking Glass of Culture: An Essay on the New Labour History and Working Class Culture in Recent Canadian Historical Writing", Labour 1981 7 (Spring): 95-112.
Brien, A., "Drinking Against the Clock", New Statesman 1967 73 (Spring) 505-506.
Cook, Ramsay, "The Making of Canadian Working-Class History", Historical Reflections 1983 10 (1):115-125
Cook, Ramsay, "The Making of Canadian Working Class History", Historical Reflections 1983 10 (1): 115-125.
Davis, Donald, "Competition's Moment: The Jitney-Bus and Corporate Capitalism in the Canadian City, 1914-1929" Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine 18 (2) 102-120.
Davis, Fred, "The Cabdriver and His Fare: Facets of a Fleeting Relationship", American Journal of Sociology 1959:158-165.
Gordon, John, "In the Hot Seat: the Story of the New York Taxi Rank and File Coalition", Radical America 1983 17 (5): 27-43.
Henslin, James M., "Craps and Magic", American Journal of Sociology 1967 73 (3): 316-330.
Henslin, James M., "Trust and the Cab Driver", Sociology and Everyday Life. Marcello Truzzi (ed.) Englewood Cliffs N.J., Prentice-Hall Inc., 1968.
Johnson Walter, "Workers, Unions, and Social Change", Working in Canada. Walter johnson (ed.) revised 2nd edition. Montreal, Black Rose Books Ltd. 1983: 133-160.
Karen, Robert L., "Some Factors Affecting Tipping Behaviour", Sociology and Social Research 1962 47: 68-74.
Livesay, Bruce, "The Meter's Running: Taxi Union Drive", Our Times 1992 December: 126-131.
Nusbaum, Philip, "The Importance of Storytelling Style Amoung New York City Taxi Drivers", New York Folklore, 1980 6 (1-2): 67-89.
Palmer, Bryan D., "Classifying Culture", Labour/Le Travailleur 1981-82 8-9: 153-183.
Palmer, Bryan D., "Labour History at the Crossroads: The Mid-Life Crisis of Working- Class Studies in America", Canadian Review of American Studies 1987 18 (2): 247-253.
Psathas, George and James M. Henslin, "Dispatched Orders and the Cab Driver: A Study of Locating Activities", Social Problems 1967 14: 424-443.
Roper, Henry, "The Halifax Board of Control: The Failure of Municipal Reform, 1906-1919", Acadiensis 1985 14 (2): 46-65.
Russell, Raymond, "Class Formation in the Workplace: the Role of Sources of Income", Work and Occupation 1983 10 (3): 349-372.
Russell, Raymond, "The Role of Culture and Ethnicity in the Degeneration of Democratic Firms," Economic and Industrial Democracry 1984 5 (1): 73-96.
Sutton, Edward, "Halifax Cabdrivers, 1939-1945", Nova Scotia Historical Review 1992 12 (2): 66-73.
Trojan, David J., "Comment on the Personal Aspects of a Small City Taxi Service", Wisconsin Sociologist 1976 13 (4): 132-138.
Vidich, Charles, "Union Taxies and Gypsy Cabbies", Society 1973 10 (5): 43-49.
Benson, Susan Porter, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores 1890-1940. Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1989.
Frankena, Mark W. and Paul A. Pautler, An Economic Analysis of Taxicab Regulation. Federal Trade Commission, 1984.
Gutman, Herbert, Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
Palmer, Bryan D., A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860-1914. Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1979.
Palmer, Bryan D., Working Class Experience: Rethinking the History of Canadian Labour, 1800-1991. Second edition. Toronto, McClelland and Stewart Inc., 1992.
Papillon, Benoit-Mario, The Taxi Industry and its Regulation in Canada. Ottawa, Economic Council of Canada, 1982.
Rinehart, James W., The Tyranny of Work: Alienation and the Labour Process. Second edition. Toronto, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Canada, 1987.
Thompson, E.P., Making of the English Working Class. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Penguin, 1980.
Vidich, Charles, The New York Cab Driver and His Fare. Cambridge, Schenkman Publishing Company, 1976.
Theses & Dissertations & unpublished papers
Berry, Kimberly, "The Halifax Taxi Industry: The Evolution and Adjustment of Local Business," unpublished paper submitted to Dalhousie History Department, 15 March 1995.
Henslin, James M., "The Cabdriver: An Interactional Analysis of a Occupational Culture." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Washington University, St. Louis Missouri, 1967.
McKay, Ian, "The Working Class of Metropolitan Halifax 1850-119." Unpublished honours paper, Dalhousie University, 1975.
Morris, Charles N., "Some Characteristics of Occupational Choice and Adjustment in a Sample of New York City Taxi Drivers." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1951.
Schlosberg, Richard, "A Descriptive Analysis of the New York City Taxi Industry." Unpublished masters thesis, Hunter College, 1975.
Schlosberg, Richard, "Taxi Driving A Study of Occupational Tension." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The City University of New York 1980.
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