Be prepared to pay more for a taxi ride in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
The first rate increase in 13 years went into effect this month.
City council recently approved the request by taxi owners to help them bring fares in line with other municipalities such as Peterborough, Oshawa and Uxbridge. There’s no flat rate but the drop rate of $3.25 went to $3.50 and depending on the trip’s distance, the average hike is between 25 cents and 75 cents. Peterborough’s drop rate is $4.00.
For Frank Marinier, owner of Kawartha Lakes Taxi, he’s pleased council approved the rate increases to help them deal with rising costs of doing business and to address the increase in the provincial minimum wage. His company has seven vehicles and 15 drivers.
“A lot of people don’t realize that they see how much they pay for a taxi and they think, that’s a lot of money but they don’t realize the driver doesn’t make that much,” he said. “So a lot of days the taxi driver wasn’t making minimum wage.”
Seniors over the age of 65 will also get a discount.
“In keeping with the municipality’s goal of not over-regulating private industry, it is being recommended that the mandatory seniors discount be removed and that companies be able to implement their own discounting programs for seniors and other customers as they see fit,” City of Kawartha Lakes staff said in a report.
“Our company has set it at around 17 per cent,” said Marinier.
The increases are the first since 2005. Marinier says so far he hasn’t heard complaints from customers.
“When we tell them we’re reflecting the rates that are in other municipalities they simply say, ‘OK,'” he said.
Driver Andy Grant says the minimum wage increase in Ontario hasn’t helped drivers.
“Minimum wage has an impact on everything,” he said. “Whether it’s Tim Hortons or not, you’ve got to pay the people who do the work.”