Ottawa

Ottawa taxi fares could rise 2.5 per cent

City of Ottawa staff are proposing a new taxi-fare hike for this fall, which will see a starting rate rise 2.5 per cent.

City of Ottawa staff are proposing a new taxi-fare hike for this fall, which will see a starting rate rise 2.5 per cent.

The proposed hike is nowhere near the taxi union's plea for a 10-per-cent jump, but rather goes along with a 2.5-per-cent rise in OC Transpo bus fares.

Still, some people are frustrated Ottawa has become among the most expensive cities in Canada to take a cab. Only Mississauga has higher fares than Ottawa.

"They should be looking at what they have to work with and find efficiency in that system before the taxi drivers go and want an increase," said resident Bob Singh.

Blueline Taxi driver Raj Deon is in favour of a 2.5 per cent fare hike because gas prices have hit him and other drivers hard. ((CBC))

But drivers told CBC News they are concerned about losing money every day, especially due to rising gas prices.'

The taxi unions sought a hike last summer, as well, to go along with the introduction of the HST in Ontario. But that did not happen.

"We're losing $10 every day, pay extra on gas," said driver Raj Deon, "Raising the taxi rate would compensate."

Some Ottawa residents were more sympathetic towards the drivers, who last saw taxi fares increased in 2008.

"I'd say an increase is fair, 10 per cent is too high," said Caroline Warburton. She added the fare increase should mimic a rise in the cost of living.

The city’s manager of bylaw services regulates Ottawa’s taxi industry.

The city's community and protective services committee will look over the fare hike first on Sept. 15 before it can go to city council.