Axe accessible surcharge on Winnipeg taxi trips, add fines for faulty cab cameras: report

A report going before the City’s public works committee Tuesday recommends killing a $12.65 surcharge for accessible taxi service and adding fines for things like faulty cameras in cabs.

The Vehicles-for-Hire annual report says no other Canadian city charges extra to provide service for the disabled.

“The Public Service and stakeholders concur that it is unfair to charge a premium fare for a service that is necessary for many passengers with accessibility requirements,” reads the report.

“These passengers are entitled to an equivalent level of service to those without accessibility issues and should not have to pay more to receive it.”

Despite the fare change, taxis and vehicles-for-hire are still expected to maintain the same level of service, said the report.

The report also recommends fines for things like operating a cab while being listed on the child abuse registry.

“The proposed fine amount is $1,000 in order to be consistent with other MBEA offences similar to this,” said the report.

New offences would include a $500 fine if a camera installed in a cab is not working, the driver tampers with the camera or tries to hide a non-working camera. Vehicle-for-hire drivers who do not properly secure a wheelchair or mobility aid, or is driving without a provincial driver’s licence would also face a $500 fine.

The report also recommends increasing the wait fare from 13 cents every 15 seconds to 16 cents every 18.4 seconds, increasing appeal fees to $500 from $250, better regulating large-capacity limousines, and increasing fares by 25 cents per trip to offset the cost of implementing credit card payments in all taxis.

More cars on roads

The Vehicle-For-Hire industry has increased by 400 cars since starting in March of 2018. Cab numbers have remained steady, while services like TappCar have added hundreds of vehicles.

Sixty new accessible licences became active on Dec. 1, 2018, meaning an increase of accessible taxis by 9 per cent, according to the report.

All taxicabs now require cameras and audio recorders, the report added.

The report said the pilot project of taxicabs using diamond lanes has been a popular move, but will continued to be monitored to make sure taxicabs don’t interfere with Winnipeg Transit buses.

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