Hikes an incentive for drivers to work the night shift
Catching a cab could cost a little more in the coming year and a nighttime jaunt could be even pricier, after "danger pay" is factored in.
The Edmonton Taxi Cab Commission is proposing an increase in cab rates to city council that could see customers paying $5.20 more for a 35 km trip. Customers currently pay $50 for a 35 km trip.
The taxi commission is also working on a study to look at a nighttime fee that could be used as an incentive for drivers to work the late shift.
And if councilors approve mandatory safety shields in all cabs later this year, the commission says customers could expect another hike in rates as costs would go up.
Steve Alvanos, a co-owner of Capital Taxi, says the rate hikes and the nighttime fees that some have dubbed "danger pay" are needed since companies are struggling to find dispatch staff and drivers who are willing to work at night.
"We have to find ways to cover the costs of growing wages and if you explain this to customers, they’ll understand," said Alvanos.
Alvanos says a good number of drivers don’t want to drive at night because of the risks involved.
Hatem Naboulsi, chairman of the city’s taxi commission, says the hike is only a small increase and the danger pay plan is so far getting mixed reviews from other taxi companies.
"(When it comes to the nighttime fees) we are still analyzing the idea," said Naboulsi.
Coun. Karen Leibovici says the nighttime fees could fit well in Edmonton and councillors will be studying the issue closely when it comes to council.
As for the other rate hikes, Leibovici says they are comparable to other major Canadian cities.
"With those cities that have the same issues as we have, like affordable housing, the hike is reasonable," said Leibovici.