In January 2020, Council approved new rates for taxi-fares – but they were only a minor change. The senior’s discount was reduced from around 30% to 10% and the wait charge no longer required being stopped for 2 minutes. But at Monday’s regular Council meeting, Kelly Paton, owner of Cobourg Cabs, made a passionate plea for an increase in fares. She said it was not to make her rich but a matter of survival. She said she took only $100 a week in wages for herself. She said that she employed 9 drivers with 3 licensed cabs. The increased cost of insurance, increases in the minimum wage and currently high gas prices made her business not viable. Choices are increased fares or closing the business. She said she had spoken to other Cobourg taxi owners and she was speaking for them.
She had surveyed what taxis in other towns charged and she conceded that Cobourg’s pickup charge was too high but that the per kilometre rate at $1.75 was way too low. (See Kelly Paton Supporting Doc below).
She asked for three things:
- Drop the base rate (pickup charge) from $4.75 to $4.25
- Increase the per km rate from $1.75 to $2.25
- Add a fuel surcharge of $1.50 per trip; to be removed once gas is less than $1.40/litre for 30 days.
Three months ago, taxi companies had agreed with Brent Larmer on rate increases and his proposal was already on the Agenda with a $2.00 per km rate. Kelly said that this was now superceded because of fuel price increases – but anyway, was too low.
Led primarily by Brian Darling but with strong support from Adam Bureau and Emily Chorley, there was considerable debate. (A couple of amendments did not get approved). Brent Larmer said that the issue was complicated by the need to consider Uber (etc) plus provision of accessible taxis. In addition, he had not looked into the surcharge idea. In response to a question from Emily Chorley, Brent said that accessible taxis would be more expensive and there might need to be a partnership with the town for these.
Another concern was the need to give notice to the public. In the end, this concern was not addressed – the change is now in effect although the meters will take a bit of time to change.
But after considerable debate, Council passed a motion by Aaron Burchat, seconded by Suzanne Séguin, that approved the changes requested except for the fuel surcharge – that was referred to staff for a report by the next CoW meeting on March 28. The necessary By-Law was also approved.
New Town of Cobourg Taxi Fare Structure
|Type of Taxi Fare||Rate|
|Pick-Up Charge||$4.25 (was $4.75)|
|Meter Charge||$2.25 per km (was $1.75)|
|Waiting/Running time while under engagement||$0.75 per minute, Meter activated only when vehicle is travelling below 26km per hour or stopped.|
Discount for Seniors is 10%:
- Proof of age is needed (Senior 65) at Driver’s discretion
- Discount not applied on fares below $10.00
There are currently 10 taxicabs in 4 companies licenced to operate in Cobourg. In early 2020 A1 Taxi lost its licence due to multiple By-Law infractions (see link below). It’s highly probable that Cobourg could do with more taxis and losing one or more companies because of a low fare structure would be a major concern.
- Bylaw 014-2014 Licence Taxi-cab Owners and Drivers – Includes rates from 2010.
- Bylaw 03-2019 Amend Taxicab Bylaw – removes limit of one licence per 1000 population
Cobourg News Blog Posts
- Cobourg’s Taxi Regulations to be updated – 25 January 2020
- A1 Taxi out of Business – 10 March 2020
- Cobourg Internet Taxi Page