Fare hike fair? – Metro US

Fare hike fair?

There’s no sign that gas prices are going to go down, so some Halifax taxi drivers say fares should go up.

“We don’t want to cut our throats by putting it up too much, but as far as gas, yes, that has gone up, and what used to be $20, $25 is now $30 and $32 to fill your car,” Dana Hersey said yesterday at the taxi stand outside the Marriott Harbourfront hotel.

Naidibe Akban said he would be in favour of a modest fare hike, but doubts the general population of drivers will be consulted.

“We’re supposed to have insight … but the government will just assume it and make the decision,” he said.

Raising fares is a suggestion that Coun. Jim Smith (Albro Lake-Harbourview) made at Tuesday’s regional council meeting.

Council approved sending the issue to its taxi and limousine advisory committee. A report is expected in two weeks.

Hersey, who has been driving a cab for 29 years, says when council granted the request from drivers to up fares in October 2005 to offset rising gas prices, it helped to “level off a little bit better.”

At the time, fares went up an average of eight per cent, and the meter starting rate was boosted to $3 from $2.90. Currently, every 80 metres of travel costs 12 cents.

But if councillors are planning to institute a rate hike, they may have to act fast. Mayor Peter Kelly confirmed yesterday that the long-awaited report on a controversial proposal to take taxis out of the city’s hands and deregulate the industry is expected to come before council on May 20.

Deputy Mayor Steve Adams (Spryfield-Herring Cove), who is the committee chair, says it’s “ironic that a body that wants to eliminate the taxi commission is now calling on the taxi commission for advice.”

“I’m absolutely delighted to provide that to them. I guess it’s another way we can illustrate the value of the committee,” he said.

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