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Politics

Cab passengers, taxi driver react to new Winnipeg pilot project for pre-paying for cab rides

Global News' Amber McGuckin speaks to the City of Winnipeg's Manager of Vehicles for Hire, Grant Heather, about a new pilot program designed to stop disputes over cab fares.

The city is rolling out a new pilot project that means taxi passengers will need to prepay $10 when picking up a cab in the evening.

The pilot will run for nine months and apply to rides between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

At the end of the ride, you’ll either be refunded the difference or pay the remaining balance.

The city says there’s one to two arguments over fares in Winnipeg every day, and about three times per week someone completely skips on the fare.

READ MORE: Winnipeg taxi passengers will need to prepay for rides as part of city pilot

It’s a conflict that needed a solution, says Harpreet Singh, the supervisor and owner of GreenCity Taxi.

“It’s happened to me, yes. Every taxi driver in this city will tell you the same thing,” he said.

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Singh says he welcomes the guaranteed payment but thinks there may be conflicts with people as the new rule is rolled out.

“Because it’s a new thing, they won’t accept it at the start,” he said.

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“The customers who want to pay it’s not a problem, it’s a problem for the ones who don’t want to pay.”

Some customers say it will be an inconvenience they don’t want to be bothered with.

“I can understand why, but I pay with debit so paying twice with my debit is a pain. So that inconvenience is a bit of an issue,” Dave Ferris said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police asking for help finding suspects in taxi robbery

 

Others like Pat Emes say it’s unfair to make everyone prepay.

“Why should I have to, I’ve never ripped off a cabbie in my life and I would never do that,” she said.

The city’s Manager of Vehicles for Hire, Grant Heather said it was the best solution they could come up with.

“One of the biggest complaints from the industry is the number of fare disputes that happen and the conflict that raises between passengers and drivers,” he said.

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“We had to look at a method that would allow us to ensure the drivers still got something but to reduce the ability for people to jump away from their fare and walk away from the ride and basically steal from the driver.”

Heather said the city will evaluate how the pilot worked before deciding if it will be rolled out permanently.

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