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2014-01-07 at NOON

'Overdue'

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
FASD FactsDrinking Alcohol at any time during pregnancy could affect the normal development of the baby.www.mushkiki.com

Relieving the city's police board of responsibility for taxi issues is "overdue."

Coun. Brian McKinnon is the chair of a committee addressing taxi issues in the city, and  said Tuesday morning during a Thunder Bay Police Service Board meeting at city hall that it is time for an overhaul in how the transportation companies are policed.

The first step Coun. McKinnon would like to see taken is a shift of responsibility over taxi regulations from the police board to the city’s by-law enforcement department.

“This comes from the taxi companies as well," he said. "I think they’re happy with the fact we’re addressing with some of the issues.”

McKinnon, who is also a member of the police service board, said the current system is not a drain on police resources.

Shifting responsiblity for taxis away from police boards isn't unheard of. Several communities across Ontario have already transferred those kinds of responsibilities to municipal governments.

City by-law manager Ron Bourret said it’s clear in his mind that there is room for improvement in terms of taxi service.

“Right now, no. They do not,” he said, responding to the question of whether cab companies provide the best service possible to city residents.

“I’m not putting any blame on the cab companies but we have to find a way as administration that if this comes our way that we study ways to effectively and efficiently use those.”

He identified creating one dispatch service to direct all three of the city’s taxi companies and the implementation of GPS tracking as two possible solutions to enhance quality.

Having regulations enforced by the city’s by-law enforcement gives the potential for the city to provide some direction to the companies.

“If we regulate them under the Municipal Act we can tell them where we want cabs at a certain time,” Bourret said.

“Taxi service is a community service. It’s a private business, but it’s a community service. Taxi companies should be included into our transportation review and study for the city.”

One major point of caution for Bourret is ensuring extra resources are allocated to his department if the change does take place. He said his staff of five licensing and enforcement officers are currently overworked, especially with the demands of winter.

He would look at changing the by-law to fit within the capabilities of the department, and acknowledged the switch would likely be inevitable..

“The by-law, the way it’s written now under the police service board, needs to be changed. It’s outdated and when myself and the legal department get a hold of it and we’ll have to look at the resources we have,” Bourret said.

The committee will meet again in early February with a report from the police service board on whether they recommend the transfer. If the board is in favour of the switch, a report would be prepared for city council early in the spring.

 

 

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Comments

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The Beaver..... says:
Ohh Boy that was a long speech Ron made.. Right in line with what Rob Ford would have said.
1/7/2014 1:07:15 PM
fastball says:
I cannot believe that it can cost over 35 dollars to go from Westfort to the Intercity Mall. That is ridiculous!
They want people to take a cab after having had a few drinks - but no one tells you that it going to cost you a king's ransom. Imagine going from downtown North to South...that's gotta be over 75 dollars.
1/7/2014 1:08:03 PM
silent rebel says:
We took a cab from the Norwester hotel after a wedding once all the way to current river and it was $95!!!! (not including the tip) Cheaper than a DUI and priceless when it comes to preventing you from injuring or killing someone but it definitely put a dent in our wallet and a damper on the evening. Most ppl would never pay that or could not afford to...it does not cost $95 in gas to drive across the city. Something wrong with the way cab fares are calculated in this city.
1/7/2014 3:12:04 PM
mystified says:
You are right about the high cost of taking a taxi in Thunder Bay. I would rather pay the cost of a cab fare instead of the costs associated with an impaired should I require a cab if I've been indulging.

There should be zone fares in Thunder Bay the same as they have in Toronto or other major cities.
1/7/2014 3:50:11 PM
citymtnbiker says:
GPS and computers in taxis in Tbay is long "overdue". In Winnipeg they have cabs without the constant annoying radio chatter from other cabs/dispatcher.. instead the computer tells the driver where to go and is directed by GPS dispatch and they call you when they show up.
1/7/2014 2:31:14 PM
snapback says:
What happened to Northwest Newsweek!?!?
1/7/2014 2:39:13 PM
Leith Dunick says:
It's been on a temporary hiatus over the holidays, will return soon, I believe.
1/7/2014 2:43:23 PM
jonthunder says:
I can appreciate that the Police have something better to do than check on taxi services. But the By-Law Enforcement Office has proven to be largely inept over the decades. That is not meant to fault the staff in by-law enforcement; but I suspect Council has not given them the tools, resources and accountability process to make it work. This all goes much deeper than a cavalier transfer of administrative jurisdiction.
1/7/2014 3:47:23 PM
kuha says:
i took a cab halfway across
calgary and it cost me only 17 dollars,
1/7/2014 3:47:53 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
I'm not a big fan of a lot of privatizing of services the city provides, but there are a couple instances that to me make sense. Golf is one, but here's an idea for a young entrepeneur. Privatize By Law enforcement. It's a win-win. Get paid on commission, then you're motivated to enforce. It would reduce the city staff while providing an opportunity for probably those same people to make as much money or more than they did before. I personally would like to see stronger enforcement on things that would clean up the look of the city - unkept lots, etc. If you're getting paid by the number of tickets issued, it can only help motivate people to follow the By Laws. It would also generate more revenue for the city. More revenue and lower costs for taxpayers, cleaner city. Win-win.
1/7/2014 4:22:49 PM
Northofnipigon says:
Not sure how the rates are set across communities for cabs. I'm in Toronto and Ottawa a few times a month and I seem to only pay a fraction for much greater distances. It may all be anecdotal. It would be interesting to see real data comparing rates across similar sized communities to see if in fact there is some gouging going on in Thunder Bay. I can accept that gas may be more expensive and we have less population, but I regularly pay $50 for a cab ride in Thunder Bay to get to the airport. Ouch.
1/7/2014 4:55:44 PM
flyinjerky says:
I'm very surprised more restaurant owners don't become more involved in this. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd probably head out for dinner at least once every weekend or two. However, the idea that on top of my tab at the restaurant I'd have to pay a taxi fee bordering on ridiculous is easily enough of a deterrent for me to stay home. Now I'm not talking about going out and becoming falling down drunk. I'm talking about sharing a bottle of wine, or perhaps a few beers. More than reasonable. I'd love to patronize some local establishments, and completely understand that having a few drinks will lead to a reasonable taxi fare, but under the current rates, it simply isn't worth it. In many cases, the cab fare is in the neighborhood of 35 - 50% my restaurant tab. Sadly, for places like The Foundry, Bight, etc, my money stays home.
1/7/2014 5:16:33 PM
S Duncan says:
buy a car and look after your own transportation needs, don't drink alcohol, or get mad at the idiots who somehow changed the law so you cant even have one drink without being over the limit.

time to grow up and solve your own problems.
1/7/2014 5:39:47 PM
flyinjerky says:
I have a car. A nice one, actually. So I'm confused by your reply. If I feel like going out for dinner, I would like to have a few drinks with that dinner. I'm an adult. That shouldn't be an issue. I "solve" my own problem by simply no longer frequenting restaurants or establishments as often to avoid the high taxi rates. I would be more than happy to go out and help contribute to these establishments if the rates for being responsible were more reasonable.
As for growing up, it doesn't strike me as particularly grown up to get mad at people who have caused this problem. I don't see that helping the situation at all.
1/8/2014 10:56:42 AM
unionbay880 says:
One drink and over the limit? You would have to weigh 50 pounds.
1/8/2014 11:15:09 AM
flyinjerky says:
Please reread my comment. Pay particular attention to the word FEW. In fact, just throw in the number 4 if that helps. It may or may not be accurate, but it's probably close over the course of a 2 hour dinner.
Again though, this is not really the issue. If I feel I'm over the limit, or I'm not sure, I'd be more than happy to take a taxi for a reasonable rate. That is unfortunately not the case. So I stay home when I'd much rather spend some money at a local business.
1/8/2014 6:50:20 PM
unionbay880 says:
My comment was nt directed at your post but at S Duncan. Notice how my reply is indented from his, as your reply is indented from mine (that means you're replying to the post above indented to the left). I do however agree with your 4 drinks over 2 hours being more realistic. Also since everyone is throwing out numbers, here's mine. Oakville to Toronto by taxi last week, $45 before tip.
1/8/2014 10:51:52 PM
Arch Stanton says:
No, the difference is real. Same distance from WPG airport to downtown was $16 - in T-Bay the identical distance was $38.

My nostrils detect a rodent...
1/7/2014 5:48:45 PM
chbaker says:
The taxi service in this town is TERRIBLE.

Quite often at 2am they don't even answer the phone.
And the RATES. Wow. Brutal.

What we need is to allow competition,
to allow truly private enterprise to take over.
If anyone who will buy a good enough car and register it as a taxi and start taking calls, we will suddenly be able to get a cab after the bar, and suddenly be able to afford it.

What they are doing now, which is taking advantage of a monopoly and gouging people, and providing totally inadequate service is really encouraging people to drink and drive.
1/7/2014 8:53:16 PM
realist says:
Is anything ever good enough for you? All you do is complain and call every business a monopoly.

Maybe if you laid off the pipe, you would see things like the rest of us in the real world.

How about you put your money where you mouth is and apply for a taxi license. You'll quickly find out that it's not a license to print money.
1/7/2014 10:06:51 PM
musicferret says:
Nobody needs to go buy their own taxi to show that its a crooked system; its blatantly obvious. And YES, it IS a monopoly (oligopoly in this case). They have all the cabs between a couple companies, get the price set far past double anywhere else in the province, and basically run the show and print money. Thats a monopoly, and CHBAKER is right to complain. Shame on you for defending the cab company crooks.

No cabs, sky high prices. We can do better. We can't possibly do worse.
1/8/2014 12:13:04 AM
Synical says:
"He identified creating one dispatch service to direct all three of the city’s taxi companies"

Unethical, and possibly illegal? These are three separate companies you're talking about. Contrary to your statement, they are NOT community services, they are businesses. You are talking about enacting a system that will remove competition from these businesses and force them to adhere to only the calls you give them.

The biggest issue is slots. The city only allows so many taxi licenses, and each of those is purchased already by the three available companies. In order to put more cars on the road, the city has to allow more passenger licenses.

This is why no fourth company has come forward. They legally CAN'T until the city allows more slots for passenger carrying.
1/8/2014 12:28:14 AM
publicdomain says:
It seems to me fares here are comparable to other major cities; but cab fare doesn't stop accumulating when stopped at a light. I suspect that the timing of the lights has a lot to do with our final cab fare. For example: from our home to the airport isn't really far, but some mornings our taxi cost is around $15 and the next it could be close to $22. It is always the same route, the only difference is the number of lights that we stopped for; and in our case it can be as small a number as one red light, or every possible red light. Regardless of speed, very rarely will you make it thru every green light on the Harbour expressway & every morning on the way to work, I hit the same sets of lights. My theory, it's not just the cost, it's also the time the meter is running. Many traffic lights in our city are timed and do not reflect traffic volume. Imagine taxi costs from Port Arthur to Fort William after hitting every light possible & costs without having to. Possibility?
1/8/2014 6:40:09 AM
mystified says:
It's cheaper to take a cab in a larger city.
1/8/2014 10:30:31 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Getting way, way too pricey to exist here...ya, I'll move soon, too. Nothin' much happening, unless you feed off of taxpayer money.
1/9/2014 9:51:44 AM
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