CORNER BROOK — Taxi operators in Corner Brook are looking for a raise.
The community services department received a request to increase the metre drop rate from $3 to $3.90, raise the additional kilometre rate from $1.54 to $2.12, increase wait time per hour rate from $26 to $40.70, permission to charge a premium of $3 for those who request a van, and to be able to raise the charge during Christmas period from $2 to $3.
The taxi operators are saying there are problems with driver retention and increasing operating costs, according to a motion before council Monday evening.
After researching the matter and doing a comparison with other jurisdictions, the department recommended council increase the metre rate to $3.32, raise the additional kilometre rate to $1.76, increase wait time per hour rate to $28.76, and deny the two additional requests.
The last rate increase for taxi drivers was 2008.
Coun. Leo Bruce said he has spoken several taxi drivers in relation to the request.
"They feel, with the cost of insurance and the cost of fuel and repairs to vehicles, that it is warranted," he said.
Bruce believes the recommendation from the department was fair, due to the amount of the research and effort that went into preparing it. The councillor would like to see a change in the process of setting rates.
"There is nobody who knows the business more than somebody who is doing it," he said. "Me as a councillor, or anybody else around the table, I am not really comfortable in dictating rates."
Bruce would like to see taxi operators establish its own association locally. If that was done effectively, he said maybe they could set their own rates.
"I feel they know their business the best," he said. "They know there is a fine line of charging their user groups, and they would have to be concerned about crossing that line and losing customers."
The motion will be voted upon at the next public meeting. Bruce encourages the public to submit comments before then.