Owen Sound police board to ponder taxi fare hike

By Denis Langlois, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Thursday, October 3, 2013 10:19:01 EDT AM

The chairman of Owen Sound’s police service board says there is still time for people to comment on a proposal to hike the cost of taxi fares in the city.

Gary Levine says the board has heard from taxi operators who are asking that the bylaw that regulates fares be changed so that all companies must charge a flat rate of $9 per trip, taxes included, within city limits.

The bylaw now allows taxi companies to charge a maximum of $8 per ride. Some operators charge $6.

Levine said the board has not yet received comments from the public, something he said he welcomes.

“The more people that provide feedback the better so that we’re not making the decision in isolation,” he said in an interview.

Without public comments, a motion to increase fares to $9 could be made at the next Owen Sound Police Service board meeting on Oct. 23, he said.

Francesca Dobbyn, executive director of the United Way of Bruce Grey, said she is concerned about increases in taxi fares, especially since the “most marginalized” people typically rely on them the most.

“For a lot of people, it’s just more of a burden on people who simply don’t have the money in their budgets to adjust to that burden,” she said.

The proposed increase also comes at a time when the city plans to increase bus fares by 10% in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and reduce routes from four to three, she said.

“Those issues should not be dealt with in isolation,” she said.

Rob Taylor, owner of Redline Taxi in Owen Sound, said he would like to see all cab operators charging the same price.

“We have to have a little bit of an increase to keep up with gas prices, insurance, maintenance, and to make sure that our drivers get a fair share as well,” he said.

Taxi fare prices are set by the Owen Sound Police Service board. The bylaw has set a maximum fare of $8 since at least 2002.

Levine said people wanting to provide feedback on the proposed fare increase should do so by Oct. 23.

They can do so by e-mailing Levine at glevine@docpc.com or the board’s administrative assistant Kelly Jo Calver at kcalver@owensoundpolice.com.

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