Cold Lake City Council is now asking the administration to consider changes to increase the transparency of taxi fares for customers and allow for better enforcement of infractions.
This change was sparked after the City of Cold Lake compared its taxi bylaw to other municipalities.
Council is asking that changes to the bylaw be made requiring taxis to clearly display the fares they charge along with the following changes:
- the requirement to affix a no-smoking sign to the vehicle
- the requirement to clearly identify the vehicle as a taxi
- taxi-specific license plates to be displayed at the front of the vehicle as an additional means of identifying a compliant taxi,
- the inclusion of naloxone kits – which are available for free – in addition to a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit in the vehicle.
Mayor Craig Copeland says they will not weigh in on regulating fares because Cold Lake is a small community with few options for taxis
“We’ve heard that customers have been surprised by what they’ve been asked to pay, and so we’ve asked the administration to add the requirement that taxi fares be clearly displayed so that each company’s fares are known and customers are not taken by surprise.”
Along with taxi fairs council also agreed with a proposal to increase fines for people operating a taxi without a business license is proposed to increase to $1,000 from $100.
Other changes to fines include:
- Operating a taxi without a mechanical inspection is proposed to increase to $500 from $100.
- A fine of $250 plus the payment of the fare will be instituted for customers who attempt to evade a posted fare.
The administration is currently consulting with members of the local taxi industry prior to finalizing the proposed changes and bringing them back to Council for a final decision.
“Just like with any bylaw, it’s important to get the balance right here,” Copeland said. “We want these companies to be able to make money – if they can’t, then there will not be any taxi options for residents or visitors in our city. At the same time, we want to ensure that the vehicles are safe, they are being operated safely, and that customers do not feel surprised by the price of the ride.”
The administration will seek written feedback from local taxi companies and continue to research similar bylaws in other communities before bringing a proposed, updated bylaw to Council for further debate and consideration.