In February 2019, Cobourg Council decided to look at the regulations/By-Laws governing Taxis to see if complaints by users and Taxi owners could be resolved. Issues included availability of accessible cabs, fares not sufficient to encourage new taxis, the cap on the number of taxis was too low and there was no provision for Uber, Lyft and similar services. (The Town calls these Transportation Network Companies – TNCs). Although the cap was quickly removed, it was felt that input from cab-owners, cab-drivers and taxi users was needed before further changes were made. So from September 16, 2019 until October 11, 2019, an online survey was conducted that got input from 116 Citizens, 4 Taxicab Owners and 3 Taxicab Drivers but no response from TNC’s. That’s probably because Uber et al do not provide service in Cobourg although there have been some rides that originated outside Cobourg.
At Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Council will be asked to authorize preparation of By-Laws to make some changes to be prepared when TNCs come to Cobourg and to allow for slightly higher and less restrictive fares. There is no easy answer to the provision of accessible cabs.
Currently the Town of Cobourg has eleven (11) taxicabs licensed between four (4) different Companies operating within the Town of Cobourg. The Town currently does not have any on-demand accessible taxicabs licensed or available with the Town. Throughout 2019, there was one (1) inquiry for an Accessible Taxicab Application, but since the time the application was offered, the application has been abandoned by the Applicant.
Possible solutions include requiring that (e.g.) if a company has more than five cabs, then one must be accessible; another possibility is providing some kind of financial incentive. But it’s noted that currently no cab company has five or more cabs (see list below). Financial incentives such as waiving fees for accessible cabs plus some type of subsidy would need to be discussed and approved by Council.
Regulation of TNCs
The Staff report includes a long discussion of TNCs and what the issues might be. Although it’s not yet spelled out since by-Laws have not yet been written, the intent seems to be to regulate TNCs with similar rules to regular Taxis although not for fares. These regulations would be similar to those used by other Towns.
|Type of Taxi||Fare Rate|
|2.||Pick-Up Charge (Senior Rate)||$4.25|
|3.||Meter Charge||.35cents 1/5 km ($1.75/km)|
|4.||Meter Charge (Senior Rate)||.25cents 1/5 km ($1.25/km)|
|5.||Stops During Trip||$1.50 per stop|
|6.||Waiting Times at Stops||$0.75 per min after 2mins|
|7.||Parcel Unloading Charge||$0.75 per min after 2mins|
|8.||Destination Waiting Charge||$0.75 per min for waiting at final destination|
Below is the Proposed Taxi Fare Structure beginning in 2020:
|Type of Taxi Fare||Rate|
|2.||Meter Charge||$1.75 per km|
|3.||Waiting/Running time while under engagement||$0.75 per minute, Meter activated only when vehicle is travelling below 26km per hour or stopped.|
New proposed Discount for Seniors is 10% rather than a separate fare amount.
These changes plus other proposed regulation changes will help taxi owners – see the full report in links below.
Also mentioned in the Staff report is the use of Uber by Innisfil to provide Transit service. Staff asks Council for direction as to whether that idea should be studied.
For the Record, according to the Town, currently licensed in Cobourg are the following companies:
Addendum – 28 January 2020
At the Council meeting, Councillor Emily Chorley asked if the rates were now enough to make the taxi business viable. Town Clerk Brent Larmer replied that the taxi companies are happy with the revised rates. There are two differences:
- Whenever traffic is slow (less than 20 km/hr) or stopped at traffic lights, the meters will now automatically record the per minute rate. This will mean a noticeable increase in fares. One effect is that the fare between two points will not always be the same since it will depend on traffic.
- Seniors will no longer have different rates but instead will get a 10% discount but only for fares more than $10.
Brent said that fares are competitive compared to other Towns.
Council approved proceeding with the new rates and a Bylaw will come to Council shortly to approve the rates.