July 16th, 2024

City taxi rates to be discussed by SPC

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2023.

Herald photo by Al Beeber A cab backs out of a spot in a city shopping mall parking lot Wednesday. The Community Safety Standing Policy Committee of city council today will hear a recommendation for increasing cab fares.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Community Safety Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council will be asked today to approve changes to a bylaw that will in part increase maximum meter rates for city cab companies.

Today’s report, to be submitted by Regulatory Services general manager Duane Ens, is in response to a directive issued by the SPC on Sept. 8 of last year.

The SPC will be asked to recommend to council that it approve several changes.

Those include for trips inside the city and within 16 kilometres a change from 31 cents to 34 cents per one-eighth kilometre, which amounts to a nine per cent increase over the current rate.

Another change includes raising the per-minute wait time fee from 75 cents to 83 cents which is a 10 per cent hike.

For trips outside Lethbridge Lethbridge and that 16-km area, the proposed rate is $2.12 per kilometre, a 10 per cent increase over the present $1.92 rate. Cab companies also want a 10 per cent increase in the charge for the per-minute change for wait times from 75 cents to 83 cents.

Another change would be an increase from $5 to $8 in cancellation charges, a 33 per cent increase.

The report also recommends a provision to let taxi drivers charge deposits.

Companies asked for this provision in September with the condition that drivers could waive it for known customers. The deposit request was made due to drivers having problems getting paid with no recourse available to them.

“Administration has reviewed the request from four taxi companies for

an increase to the maximum taxi meter rate and noted the impact of multiple rising

costs in the industry while also identifying that existing rates remain consistently

higher than other communities within the province. For clarification, the maximum

taxi meter rate is a price cap where taxi operators have the option to charge below

this set amount,” says Ens’ report.

Administration is also requesting a $30 meter inspection fee be introduced to offset a portion of the cost for inspection.

Neither the cab industry or City are recommending a change to the maximum $3.80 start rate for the first one-eighth kilometre.

Five of eight business owners, says the report, didn’t support the maximum meter rate increase in the September submission. Based on feedback and review, city administration is recommending an alternate lower rate increase.

In their September submission, taxi companies also wanted removal of the requirement for lights on tops of cabs, saying they are easily damaged and can be lost and that permanent attachments not only damage vehicles but depreciate their resale value.

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