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Taxi company opposes city's proposed flat-rate fare from airport to downtown
WINNIPEG -- Taxi users leaving Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport could soon be paying a flat-rate fare for their ride.
An annual city report on the vehicles for hire industry is recommending a change from the current meter system, to a flat-rate for taxis leaving the airport and heading downtown or to The Forks.
“What a flat rate does is it creates that consistency,” said Tyler MacAfee with the Winnipeg Airports Authority. “So when travellers are coming to our city, visiting out city -- many for the first time, they know when they’re getting in a cab what their rate is going to be downtown.”
However, Winnipeg’s Unicity Taxy Ltd. -- the company which services the airport -- is not on board with the idea.
“We want to work with a meter rate, not a flat-rate,” said Tarlochan Gill, chairman of Unicity Taxi.
Tarlochan said enforcing a flat rate is not fair to drivers who deal with various traffic issues as well as construction.
He said his drivers won’t be making trips from the airport if that’s the case.
“We are ready to provide a service on the meters, but if they want to regulate, we cannot enforce our drivers, our owners, to go in the rush hour and do the flat-rate service when it should cost more at that time and less in the daytime,” he said.
The City of Winnipeg said if approved, it would work with the airport authority to determine rates and present them to the industry for feedback.
“A passenger can currently negotiate a flat rate for any trip originating at the airport to any area of the city. Currently, for any trip, if a rate is negotiated in advance, the amount charged to the customer cannot be more than the total fare displayed on the meter at the end of the trip,” said Adam Campbell, a city spokesperson, in an email to CTV News.
“Trips with a flat rate within the specified zone would be able to happen without the meter running; however, passengers would still be able to negotiate a lower rate.”
The Winnipeg Airports Authority said the change would be beneficial to users.
“We see it at other airports across Canada. It’s for transparency. What we’re starting to see now is that travellers know the airport where they’re coming from and going to has a flat-rate fare, and we want them to have the same experience in Winnipeg,” said MacAfee.
The annual city report is on the agenda for the standing policy committee on infrastructure renewal on Tuesday.