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Vehicle for hire addition to be made to taxi cab by-law


A recent change to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) rates has resulted in a need for the Town’s taxi cab by-law.
Definitions of vehicles for use under MPI can include taxi cab vehicle for hire, limousine vehicle for hire and passenger vehicle for hire. The latter, which is effectively like ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, have become increasingly popular as they can be a cheaper alternative to traditional cabs.
The passenger vehicle for hire rates are also more beneficial for those seeking insurance, as they are cheaper than those for taxi cabs.
The Town had recently sought to update their taxi-cab by-law last year and after giving the first reading, Town of The Pas Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Jenn Early noted the Town was contacted by insurance companies seeking clarity on how the Town would be addressing the issue of passenger vehicles for hire, prompting a discussion on the matter before council last week.
“MPI offers different rates for passenger vehicles for hire versus taxis. For a passenger vehicle for hire you get lower insurance rates when you’re running less hours... so I know some current taxis have actually taken out their meters and their signage on their vehicles and are going with the lower rate. My question is does it matter to us what they’re doing or do you want to tell these taxis how you want to deal with the vehicle for hire,” asked Randi Salamanowicz, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of The Pas.
“The idea that somebody could just register a vehicle and say that they’re a vehicle for hire and that to me they don’t have to mark it or anything, that’s just seedy for lack of a better word. If we can regulate that it doesn’t matter and that you have to have a decal then I would be all for that,” stated Councillor Crystal Krost in response.
“That’s different. Under vehicle for hire you don’t need all that stuff,” replied Salamanowicz.
Early added the Town most likely could not prevent passenger for hire services in the community as the province has stated they will not stand in the way for the service.
“You’re going to have to have very good grounds for why you’re not going to have vehicle (for hire). I’ve talked to the province and we have to have very good grounds for why you’re not going to permit a passenger vehicle for hire in the town,” said Early.
Salamanowicz noted she was aware of at least one cab service in The Pas which had switched to being a passenger for hire service due to the savings which she estimated at $2,000 a year. Following this, other cab companies requested the Town determine how they would be regulation the industry going forward.
“We should have more of a discussion I think with taxis because that’s the problem right now as I see it. If the province has changed the way of the rules and trickled it down to us and we don’t have anything to deal with the passenger vehicle issue but were still controlling the taxis we may look at whether having a discussion with them to see what’s going to happen and you don’t want to lose taxi service,” stated Councillor Brian Roque.
Ultimately, Town council is looking to go to ahead with a recommendation supplied by Early which calls for the existing by-law to remain the same but which adds in passenger vehicles for hire and requires passenger vehicles for hire to comply with stipulations the Town has for taxis, such as criminal record checks and holding a business license among other things.

Trent Allen