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Prince Albert
Sunday, May 19, 2024
Home City Council Executive committee denies taxi rate increase, considers implementing surprise inspections

Executive committee denies taxi rate increase, considers implementing surprise inspections

Executive committee denies taxi rate increase, considers implementing surprise inspections
A Checker and Family Taxi waits for a customer outside of Gateway Mall in Prince Albert. -- Herald file photo.

The Mayor of Prince Albert has suggested surprise inspections and tracking of customer complaints in lieu of raising meter rates for cab companies in the city.

In November 2021, City Administration received a letter from Grey Cab Limited and Checker & Family Taxi asking for Council to review current taxi meter rates and encourage the City to raise the rates by 12 per cent to cover inflation and rising costs of living.

An almost year-long review was then undertaken to compare province-wide taxi rates by contacting a number of jurisdictions in Saskatchewan that provide cab services. A report was brought forward to the Executive Committee on Monday with Administration’s findings, where it was revealed that Prince Albert’s meter rates remain high when compared to other municipalities and with the requested increase, the city would be the highest in price for cab companies in the province.

City Staff recommended making no changes to the meter rates. Executive committee voted in favour of the recommendation.

During discussion, Coun. Ted Zurakowski asked how often cabs are inspected by the City and what the next step is if inconsistencies are found.

Director of Planning and Development Craig Guidinger said since his department took over the licensing of taxis a year ago, a new process has been established regarding how cabs perform day-to-day and the standards in which drivers are held.

Guidinger said there have only been two inspections done since the takeover, one in the early spring and one in the late fall. The first inspection where drivers were required to show their licensing documents resulted in 12 taxis unable to pass and continue operations. The last inspection resulted in only four vehicles not passing the test for cleanliness.

Guidinger said the cab drivers are given a short period of time to resolve the issues and a subsequent inspection is then scheduled to get the taxis back on the road.

While the department currently does not do surprise inspections, Mayor Greg Dionne said his personal experiences over the last week with taxis in the city has him recommending a change to the current taxi bylaw to include them.

Dionne revealed that one of the cabs he recently rode in had used linoleum kitchen flooring as a temporary fix to the front of the vehicle.

“I’ve taken a cab twice this week and I don’t think either of them would have passed an inspection. I’m quite sure when they know another one is coming up and they correct those deficiencies,” he said. “It’s no different than when you own a franchise or you’re renting a house and you know I’m coming to inspect it on Thursday, it’s going to be clean.”

He also suggested a change to the taxi bylaw to include a sticker on the front and inside the taxi vehicles for customer complaints.

“We need to be tracking those complaints, we don’t know how many there are and that could be a concern,” he said. “That might support us doing surprise inspections if we get complaints about how filthy some of the cabs are.”