Council to consider taxi rate increase at Monday meeting

A Checker and Family Taxi waits for a customer outside of Gateway Mall in Prince Albert. -- Herald file photo.

Executive Committee will review a report by City Administration on Monday comparing province-wide taxi rates almost a year after two Prince Albert cab companies requested a 12 per cent meter raise due to inflation and the rising cost of living.

“With increased price of gas, repair rates, used vehicles, [and] essential commodities, taxi operations have become more expensive for all operators,” reads the November 2021 letter from Grey Cab Limited and Checker & Family Taxi. “Taxi operators are requesting for [a] fare increase to bear this increased cost of operations.”

According to the letter, the current rate of a meter drop and the first 33 metres of a ride is $3.50, with the proposed rate increased to $3.90. The running distance per kilometre would rise from $3.00 to $3.40, waiting time per minute would change from $0.80 to $0.90, and rates for destinations outside City limits would raise from $1.85 to $2.00. Wait time per hour would go up by $5.00.

Approving the price increase would “help taxi operators and drivers to deal with [the] increased cost of operations and living.”

In 2020, City Administration undertook a comprehensive review to update the City of Prince Albert Taxi Bylaw. As a result of the review and discussions that followed, taxi fares were set at the current amount charged by taxi brokers are the time, according to Administration’s report.

Saskatchewan taxi brokers claim that the rates have not been increased since 2018.

After receiving the letter from Grey Cab and Checker & Family last November, the Executive Committee approved a motion asking Administration to bring forward another report providing a comparison of province-wide taxi rates for formal consideration at a future meeting.

Since then, Administration has made contact with a number of jurisdictions in regards to their taxi fares.

The report by the Department of Planning and Development Services found that the meter rates for Prince Albert still remains high when compared to other municipalities. With the requested increase, Prince Albert would be the highest in the province.

“Given this information, Administration will continue to monitor the environment across Saskatchewan, but at this time no change is warranted,” according to the report.

The City currently receives no revenue generated by the fares of taxi operations, however, if there is an increase then the owner of each license would be required to pay $200 for recalibration of their taxi metre. This could result in potentially $2000 to $3000 in additional revenue for the City.