Rip-offs prompt Alberni cabbie to call for pre-paid fares

An increase in fare rip-offs has prompted a United Cabs driver to call for a bylaw requiring pre-payment of taxi fares in Alberni

An increase in the number of fare rip-offs has prompted a United Cabs driver to call for a bylaw requiring mandatory pre-payment of taxi fares in Port Alberni.

Driver Paul Martin made the request in a letter to city councillors at their meeting on Oct. 15.

According to Martin, drivers are often subject to fare rip-offs, which he defines as fares taking taxi rides then not paying for the trips.

What few people realize, Martin says, is that the amount ripped off comes out of the driver’s pocket. “We are not paid an hourly rate but instead earn a percentage of the meter,” he said. “It’s really maddening and discouraging when we never know who is the next person who is going to steal from us.”

There is a process drivers can go through to deduct the unpaid fare off the top. But drivers usually end up absorbing the amount and taking the loss, he said.

Reporting the matter to police doesn’t produce anything but a report, Martin said. “I even had an officer say to me ‘We don’t have time to babysit taxi drivers’.

“If someone steals something from a store they go to jail. If someone steals from a taxi…oh well.”

The company, he said, keeps a list of known customers who owe fares. “And these are just the ones who have been reported,” he said.

Martin proposes that city council pass a bylaw making pre-payment of all taxi fares in Port Alberni mandatory.

According to Martin, Victoria and Nanaimo are examples of two such communities that have passed similar bylaws. “I believe it’s time Port Alberni does the same,” he said.

There would be issues with the city passing such a bylaw, city planner Scott Smith said.

Smith found no similar bylaw in Nanaimo, but he couldn’t confirm whether Victoria had one or not.

The city also wouldn’t have the ability to enforce the bylaw, Smith said.

As well, local government can only  craft bylaws that provincial legislation enables them to. “I’m not sure if the province would allow the city to do that,” he said.

Martin’s initiative with city council is independent from the company, said a United Cabs spokesperson. “We never discussed this at our last directors’ meeting. He’s doing it on his own and with the best intentions.”

The spokesperson, who didn’t want to give his name, was standing in for regular manager Aaron Franco, who is away and unavailable for comment.

The spokesperson couldn’t say if there are more fare rip-offs now than in the past. “It’s been a problem for as long as cabs have been around though,” he said.

Taxi companies already have legislative recourse to guard against fare-jumpers, said Jan Broocke, who is the director of the Passenger Transportation Board, an independent tribunal that licenses  taxis, limousines, shuttle vans and inter-city buses in B.C.

According to Broocke, the Passenger Transportation Act states that a driver must not refuse to transport a passenger unless the passenger refuses to pay a deposit to the driver on request.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

 

 

Just Posted

Rollin Art Centre open now

Make sure to renew your Community Arts Council membership

BCHL: Bulldogs take the ice after trade deadline

Alberni team picked up one loss, one win with new roster

Alberni’s Warren Lee earns second black belt

Lee is one of four Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belts in Canada

Maa-nulth Nations sign historic agreement with B.C.

Deal puts nations on level playing field with province in post-treaty talks

City of Port Alberni rehires Ken Watson

Former city manager back for short term

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Newly freed Diab wants reforms to Canada’s ‘lousy’ extradition law

French authorities dropped terrorism charges against Hassan Diab who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980

Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege

The argument was laid bare this week during Steve Bannon’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee.

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Most Read