Taxi rates

Coun­cil to vote on in­crease to ad­dress in­surance rate, minu­mum wage con­cerns

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - LOCAL NEWS - KATH­LEEN CHARLEBOIS KCharlebois@post­media.com

Get­ting a ride from a lo­cal taxi might get a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive in the spring even be­fore you’ve gone any­where.

City coun­cil will vote on whether or not to in­crease the lo­cal taxi rate from the cur­rent $4.55 start rate to $6 and in­crease the per-kilo­me­tre rate from $2.65 to $2.75 at the reg­u­lar meet­ing of coun­cil on Tues­day, Feb. 20. The in­crease would come into ef­fect May 1.

Act­ing mayor Sharon Smith said it looked like coun­cil would vote to in­crease the rates af­ter the com­mit­tee of the whole rep. “It’s what I’m hear­ing around the ta­ble,” she said. “Of course you never know un­til it comes to vote day. There seems to be sup­port, but we won’t know un­til next week when we take the vote.”

Ac­cord­ing to city clerk Heather Kasprick’s re­port to coun­cil, Eric Lo­vas of Co-Ot Taxi re­quested the in­crease in a dep­u­ta­tion in De­cem­ber 2017. He said at the time that rates had not in­creased much in 16 years, and the com­pany needed to com­pet­i­tively pay their com­mis­sioned driv­ers due to the min­i­mum wage in­crease.

Lo­vas also said sub­stan­tial in­surance fee in­creases have made things more dif­fi­cult. Un­til re­cently, Co-Ot could add any new driver with at least three years of good driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and in­surance rates would not go up. Plus, a taxi in­surance rate is four or five times higher than a reg­u­lar rate sim­ply be­cause it’s a taxi.

The re­port said the me­ter rate was orig­i­nally sched­uled to in­crease to a $4.70 rate this year, and the 10 cent in­crease to the kilo­me­tre rate is on sched­ule.

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion of the item at the com­mit­tee of the whole, Lo­vas said he es­ti­mates about 60 per cent of lo­cal taxi rid­er­ship is low­in­come in re­sponse to a ques­tion from Smith.

Smith said after­wards that she un­der­stands Co-Ot is a busi­ness try­ing to run a busi­ness, but any rate in­crease would have an im­pact on rid­ers who don’t have ac­cess to other trans­porta­tion.

“I un­der­stand they’re try­ing their best to deal with their in­surance rates, and I know the min­i­mum wage [in­crease] has im­pacted them. I just al­ways re­main con­cerned for those in our com­mu­nity who have fewer re­sources than oth­ers,” she said.

Smith also asked Lo­vas if the com­pany has com­pared dif­fer­ent in­surance rates, and Lo­vas said noth­ing could be done about the in­surance is­sue.

In re­gards to the min­i­mum wage in­crease, Lo­vas said be­cause a taxi driver’s pay is based on com­mis­sions, he wants to make sure his driv­ers are mak­ing at least min­i­mum wage with the op­por­tu­nity to make more.

KATH­LEEN CHARLEBOIS/DAILY MINER AND NEWS

Act­ing mayor Sharon Smith (cen­tre) looks on as City of Kenora CAO Karen Brown ex­plains an agenda item dur­ing the com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing on Tues­day, Feb. 13.

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