Taxi fares have become more expensive since last Monday, September 12th. Didn’t you notice? The fact is that drivers are not yet applying this increase for technical reasons. Some are also very concerned that this will become an additional hurdle for their clients, who are also living on a squeezed budget.
Posted at 5:00 am
At the taxi ranks in the metropolis on Friday in bright sunshine, there was unanimous speech: The price increases are a good thing for drivers, but will customers follow suit, who have been becoming increasingly rare since the pandemic began?
“It’s true that drivers are afraid that customers will react negatively,” confirms Frédéric Prégent, President and CEO of Taxelco, which brings together six groups of Quebec taxis, including Taxi Diamond and Taxi Hochelaga, well-known in Montreal. “But I think people are very aware that everything is increasing,” he continues. You understand the situation. »
The situation is that this increase is to offset rising driver operating costs in a context where these past pandemic years have severely shaken the industry.
It was the Commission des transports du Québec (CTQ) that found in June 2022 that taxi rides would cost around 18% more. Specifically, the taximeter starts the race at $4.10 if you’re traveling during the day, not $3.50.
In addition, every kilometer driven becomes more expensive. New night tariffs have also been added. So if you travel between 11pm and 5am, you get an additional 15% discount on the new base fares.
A month for updates
Drivers must replace or adjust their taximeter at their own expense to apply the new rates. Many have not yet done so due to lack of time or the availability of the few service providers. This gives users a grace period.
On Friday afternoon, the crowd around Gingras Taximètre in the Rosemont neighborhood confirmed the importance of the demand. The owner of this company, Lise Roy, thoughtfully hired standard-bearers to make sure there were no congestion on neighborhood roads for the first two weeks after the tariff change began. Employees also left letters in the mailboxes of residents on neighboring streets to notify them of unusual traffic.
The precaution was not in vain: when there were crowds all week Monday, passers-by thought they were dealing with a real demonstration of the industry, as cars were waiting.
Drivers have one month, i.e. until October 12, to comply with the new fee schedule and have their equipment adjusted.
Jean-Wilfrid Osselyn shared the fears of his colleagues online for the change of his taximeter on Friday afternoon: “We don’t know how customers will react,” asked the driver. Will she contact Uber? »
Because unlike traditional taxis, Uber drivers are not required to increase the price of their ride when using dynamic pricing that is not determined by the CTQ. “But some drivers working for Uber can also drive ‘conventional taxis’ if they have a metered car, and in the case of a metered trip they have to respect the Commission’s tariffs,” explains Joanne St-Laurent , Research Associate at the CTQ.
In fact, on Friday, customers waiting at the Gingras taximeter were more railed against the collection of the $1.07 fee (tax included) set by the Department of Transportation for the taxi owner compensation program.
These additional fees have been in effect since last year and also increase the bill that customers have to pay. Drivers waiting for their new taximeter admitted they wished the fee had been eliminated to make the final bill more digestible for their passengers.
For Taxelco CEO Frédéric Prégent, the current increases are positive and could be a spur to the many drivers who have left the profession during the pandemic. Taxelco lost a third of its workforce. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we told our drivers over 60 to stay at home,” explains Mr. Prégent. Many early retirees have opted for permanent retirement. »
The decline in customer numbers has not favored driver retention. “To date, Mr. Prégent regrets, the volume has not returned to the city center. »