Cab driver says rate hike a necessity

Cory Hurley
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David Jones says his weekly pay can decrease by as much as $100 due to increasing expenses.

City Cab taxi driver David Jones is seen Wednesday.

CORNER BROOK  David Jones says his weekly pay can decrease by as much as $100 due to increasing expenses.

The only resolve to the escalating expenses of operating a taxi is to increase the fare, says the City Cab driver. The rising cost of expenses — including gas, vehicle maintenance and insurance — is money directly out of a driver’s pocket.

“You can go from making $250 a week to making $150 a week,” Jones said Wednesday, the day following an approved hike for taxi operators in St. John’s. “It is getting more and more difficult.”

He says local cab drivers should follow St. John’s operators, and seek approval for a rate increase from city council.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It seems like the last few years gas has been going up and up and up, and the rate hasn’t gone up in years in Corner Brook.”

The last rate increase for taxi operators in Corner Brook was in 2008, and that was not what they had been seeking.

At the time, drivers from the various city companies requested a rate hike in four areas of the taxi service. Cabbies wanted to raise the meter drop rate from $3 to $3.60, rise the per kilometre rate from $1.50 to $1.65 and the charge for waiting time from $25 to $30.

Following a review by city staff, council maintained the meter drop rate at $3, increased the fare to $1.54 per kilometre and the waiting time charge to $26. The charge for handling packages remained at $1.

The actual starting fare on the meter is $3.40, which includes HST. Jones said the fare should increase to approximately $4.

He expects cab drivers throughout the city will come together again to submit a proposal to council. He anticipates that happening sometime in the spring, but said nothing has been scheduled yet.

Jones said he discusses the need for a rate increase with his customers, and said there is a lot of public support for it.

“I would say about 85 per cent agree that it should be more,” he said. “We are taking a great risk running people around, especially in these (winter) conditions. If we have a bump or scrape, our insurance goes up, and gas is always going up, and we have no control over it.”

Meanwhile, Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley said he would not be surprised if council received a proposal to raise the rates for taxi services. Staff would review such a proposal and put a recommendation before council, who would ultimately decide what actions to take, if any.

“We would certainly do our homework, and we have to try to be fair to the taxi drivers as well, because you can’t be operating a business and losing money,” he said. “With the cost of repairs, the cost of gas, and the cost of everything else these days … I think it was (2008) when they had their last increase, so it has been quite some time.”

However, a balance has to be struck with the consumer, agreed the mayor.

“There has to be a justification for it and comparisons within the industry, taking into account economic situations in the area they are operating,” he said. “We will go through the process, if and when we receive a request.”

Organizations: City Cab

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK

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Recent comments

  • Paying Customer
    January 16, 2012 - 00:29

    I totally agree with FACTS. I get taxis often and have had this taxi driver several times. He has given me the wrong change, been rude, and taken the longer route. I don't think with such poor service that he is entitled to any raise. In any other profession you would be fired for providing such poor service to paying customers.

  • taxi driver
    January 09, 2012 - 04:49

    Cab drivers must be paid good. It is difficult for him and necessary service to all

    • David
      January 09, 2012 - 17:19

      Free Advice: Buy and maintain a model of car that's later than a 1986 Parisienne'll be amazed! Also, don't drink and drive, especially while working.....the public tends to dislike that. And finally, if there are more cab drivers working in Corner Brook than the market can support ....or as you put it "pay you good"....., guess what some of you should do? Figure it out among yourselves instead of getting a forced bailout from elderly citizens on fixed incomes. Newfoundland business strategy: where's my grant/subsidy/handout?

  • Ken
    January 07, 2012 - 13:21

    Cabdrivers have a right, like anyone, to make a decent living.Rates should be on par with other cities. Cab companies should demand increases and strike, park the cabs for a day here there and give councils phone numbers if somebody needs a ride. A modest increase is justified; if customers don't like it, they will find alternatives,however, ridership will remain the same.

  • Brad
    January 07, 2012 - 11:25

    Dee, Corner Brook is not Calgary. You cannot compare the two at all. This is about an approved rate hike in St. John's and how the same is wanted in Corner Brook.

  • David
    January 05, 2012 - 12:21

    City Council figured out how they might save their unfeasible bus arbitrariliy making the other option more expensive. By making cabs more expensive, buses are then RELATIVELY more competitive ---- without having to address any of the damning realities of why a bus system simply cannot possibly be economic here. What an unnecessary, backward, misguided, indefensible, short-sighted, and purely dumb idea.

  • Stipes
    January 05, 2012 - 09:22

    Does city council set prices at walmart--leave the cabs alone, if they charge too much no one will use them or they will lower their rates to an acceptable level

  • Brad
    January 05, 2012 - 07:56

    4 bucks just to sit in the cab?!?! I guess I will be doing a lot more walking...or riding the bus...or any other mode of transportation other than getting a cab if the rate goes up to 4 dollars...

    • Dee
      January 05, 2012 - 13:09

      I think $4 to just get in the cab is reasonable considering they are driving and spending the gas money to pick you up. If you grab a cab from the station there should be no starting fee though. I live in Calgary and to go the distance of marble to Pasadena it would cost about $75 here. I think cabs are super cheap back home and it's time to raise the price a bit...these cab drivers have families to feed I'm sure.

  • Facts
    January 05, 2012 - 07:27

    The price of gas has fluctuated up and down since 2008, however in 2008 price of gas spiked to just under $1.50. The 2008 avg was a touch over $1.30 in CB, price today is lower than the 2008 avg! Very easy to say gas is going up and up, however no discounts where given when gas prices went down from the 2008 spikes.