Winnipeg hails flat-fare taxi rides from Richardson International Airport

Passengers who arrive in Winnipeg by air may soon be able to pay a flat fare for taxi rides originating at Richardson International Airport.

Airports authority working on flat-fare zones

Winnipeg police say a 51-year-old taxi driver faces multiple charges after Winnipeg police responded to a report of an assault last week. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Passengers who arrive in Winnipeg by air may soon be able to pay a flat fare for taxi rides originating at Richardson International Airport.

City council is considering a bylaw change that would allow flat fares to be charged for taxi rides that start at the airport and wind up in and around downtown.

The Winnipeg Airports Authority requested the change, Winnipeg vehicles-for-hire manager Grant Heather wrote in a report that will go before council's public works committee next week.

"The great thing about a flat fee is it allows travellers to know the rate, so it gives them some certainty. It gives them a consistent customer experience, which is really important," said Tyler MacAfee, vice-president of communications for the airports authority.

"It's just that confidence knowing that the rate is what it is, no matter what route the driver takes."

A flat rate also prevents drivers from padding fares by choosing indirect routes between the airport and destinations within the city.

But MacAfee said Winnipeg taxi drivers are not known to engage in this sort of unscrupulous behaviour, which could victimize people unfamiliar with the city's geography.

"It happens. It's not a chronic problem in the city," he said.

City council must approve a bylaw change to allow the flat rates to be charged. In the mean time, the airports authority is working on a flat-rate fare structure that would divide the city into zones, city spokesperson Kalen Qually said in a statement.

For example, taxi rides between the airport and all downtown locations would be subject to the same flat fare. Rides to more distant destinations could have higher fares.

The airports authority will propose the rate structure to the city. It will then be presented to the taxi industry, Qually said.

"These fares will be fair for both drivers and passengers, and in line with approved metered rates," Qually said.

Taxis still dominate in Winnipeg

The same vehicle-for-hire report also recommend changes to driver registration for vehicle-for-hire companies such as TappCar and ReRyde.

The report says these companies now account for nearly seven per cent of all vehicle-for-hire trips within Winnipeg.

Taxis still account for 92 per cent of the vehicle-for-hire rides within the city, while limousines account for less than one per cent of the market, by ride volume, the report says.

Winnipeg is on pace for 5.3 million trips by taxis, limousines and ride-hailing companies for 2019, the report states.

The city took over licensing the vehicle-for-hire industry from the province in March 2018, when TappCar, ReRyde and their competitors were allowed to enter the Winnipeg market.


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