Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit September 01, 2014 - 9:45 am

Frustrated Iqaluit cab companies want fare increase

Cabbies want first increase in seven years, raising prospect of a strike

Iqaluit's two biggest cab companies say taxi fares have not kept pace with cost of living increases. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)
Iqaluit's two biggest cab companies say taxi fares have not kept pace with cost of living increases. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)

Iqaluit’s taxi companies are starting to wonder if the city will ever increase cab fares, after the City of Iqaluit’s taxi committee backed off on a recommendation to raise fares Aug. 28.

The city’s taxi bylaw calls for a review of cab fares every year, but fares have remained unchanged, at $6, since 2007.

Requests by taxi companies to increase the fare by $1 this year have yet to reach council for a final decision, despite repeated attempts to do so through the city’s taxi committee.

Now at least one company owner says cabbies may have to strike if they don’t get what they’re asking for.

In an Aug. 28 taxi committee meeting, the committee chair, city councillor Noah Papatsie, noted that many residents may not be able to afford the increase. The committee then put a request back to council on whether to have a public consultation on the matter.

“We’re just going back and forth,” said Michel Gilbert, co-owner of Caribou Cabs. “In June or July we told the taxi committee everything we wanted. They said, ‘we need more information about a few things.’

“We resolved those, then they came back with the same points [to clarify] as before,” Gilbert said. “We discussed why we want an increase at the beginning, and now they want us to explain it again. It’s like spinning tires for nothing.”

“They’ve been pussy-footing around this for so long,” said Craig Dunphy, owner of Pai-pa Taxi Ltd. “It seems to be kind of like a broken record.”

The owners of Pai-pa and Caribou, Iqaluit’s two largest cab companies, have repeatedly pointed out that as the cost of living increases in Iqaluit every year, taxi companies are left with mounting expenses, and no increased revenues to cover them.

“Everything’s going up. Electricity, fuel, insurance — everything went up, and the fare didn’t for the past seven years,” Gilbert told Nunatsiaq News.

“We’re not looking at becoming millionaires here,” Dunphy said in a separate interview. “But we also want to make a living, and that’s just not happening.

“We’re the only industry in town that has no say over what they charge. When you go shopping here, do you see anything on the shelf in any store in town that’s the same price now as it was seven years ago? Absolutely nothing.”

Coun. Papatsie noted that, by the same token, “not too many people up here can afford that increase, because half the population is on social income,” he told Nunatsiaq News, Aug. 29.

“Everyone needs to have their say. The public needs to be heard too, on their side of the story, and on what’s been happening with taxi companies,” he said. “Is it good to have that increase now?”

The decision on whether to hold a public consultation on the fare increase will be council’s to make, at the next council meeting.

Gilbert said the committee’s motion resolves nothing. If council fails to move on the request to increase fares, cab companies may be left with no option but to strike, he said.

The fare increase is not the only change cab companies have requested. Caribou Cabs has also proposed an amendment to the taxi bylaw, requesting all taxis install security cameras.

“It protects us, and it protects the customer,” Gilbert said. The amendment has nothing to do with the fare increase, he added.

“We’re not asking for money to pay for the cameras,” he said. “If we go ahead with the increase, we’re going to put cameras in the car.”

Dunphy and Gilbert also want the city’s taxi bylaw to include details on penalties for cab companies that undercut fares, for example, or work without a dispatcher. And they want better enforcement.

Municipal enforcement “is trying very hard to help us with that situation, to apply those rules,” Gilbert said, “but they say they can’t do anything.”

Penalties must be included by way of an amendment, or a complete re-write of the bylaw, he said.

“Complaints have been made to different cab companies and different drivers, and so on,” Dunphy said. “Very little has been done to alleviate those problems”

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(31) Comments:

#1. Posted by earth3rd on September 01, 2014

I live in the Toronto area. For a 2.2 km. taxi ride it cost me $13.00

#2. Posted by Cents on September 01, 2014

Why change it to like .50 cents it will go a long way plus so people don’t like having a lot of loss change they will gave it as tip at times

#3. Posted by raise the fares on September 01, 2014

I’m fine with them raising the fares. However in doing so, I want them regulated to only drive vehicles that are less than 7 years old. It would be nice to get into a cab that doesn’t look and feel like scrap metal.

#4. Posted by joanasie on September 01, 2014

Councillor Papatsie’s argument doesn’t hold too weight, including that 1/2 (3,500) of Iqaluit’s population of roughly 7000 are on welfare and by his reasoning keeps the taxi companies afloat.

#5. Posted by Thx for the yucks on September 01, 2014

Hahaha…Craig and Michel are soooooo funny.
The cost of operating a cab here that has increased the most in 7 years is the maintenance and repair fees at local garages which, by coincidence, are owned by…Craig “McWhiney” and Michel “Le Pleureur”.
BTW…Did the cab fares go down when the GN reduced the gas price for 3 years?
Uber Now!

#6. Posted by Jimmy Olsen, Cub reporter on September 01, 2014

Speaking of “becoming millionaires” or not, one can only wonder what a majority partner in a cab company with revenues of maybe $1,440.000 a year (given the standard evaluation of two to three times annual revenues) is worth these days?
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a millionaire duck.

#7. Posted by Belanger JD on September 01, 2014

For car less then 7 years old in Bool. The Cabs are expected Jan 1 and July 1 every year. They are Proven to be strung enough for Iqaluit Streets that are still not all paved. New cars are not as tuff as Police Pack Cars and fine Crowns Victoria. If you need a cuddle ride well get credit and get a car or a bike what ever .
I would not like to have 3 different passengers from the over serving Bar. In a 40 000$ new Grand Cherokee.
Of Corse if you think that the cab is not proper call Dispatch and say something that can help every one.

Now for Drivers and owners if you do not make monies change job or move. I loved Iqaluit and driving cabs for every one.
When you work well you get tips to cover unpaid fare.



#8. Posted by YAK ATTACK on September 01, 2014

A dollar raise sounds FARE! to me.

#9. Posted by Polar Watcher on September 01, 2014

Alright, can not let this one go…Coun. Papatsie noted that, by the same token, “not too many people up here can afford that increase, because half the population is on social income,” he told Nunatsiaq News, Aug. 29.

Where does it state as part of the disbursement of monies from Social Assistance includes taking a TAXI. Where does it state that my Canadian Tax Dollars used for this purpose (SA) includes the ability to call a TAXI. I work, I can not afford to take taxi’s everywhere. Also, some parents might do well to not allow their children to take taxi’s everywhere as well, if its a 5 minute walk, well, walk…but thats their choice. I sincerley hope that Coun. Papatsie is taken to task on this comment.

#10. Posted by Public Consultation Here on September 01, 2014

A dollar increase seems fair to me. So does installing security camaras. There. You’ve consulted the public. Quite frankly if you have a public consultation you will get the same people that are always there saying NO!

#11. Posted by assu on September 01, 2014

To poster # 1, and others in the south reading, for your $13 you and your whole family get a ride straight from A to B in a clean car. Here it’s $6 (they want $7) per person, per stop. Me, my wife, and 2 kids want a 5 min ride to the theatre or a restaurant, that will be $7x4=$28. We can feel lucky since we’ll go straight there with a full cab. Me going to work in the morning may get in a cab with 2 people already in it, I wait while they drop them off pick up two others(at seperate places) drop one of them of, then me finally. That’s $35 in fairs for 15/20 minutes. I’ve seen them pack 7 passengers plus the driver in a car that sits 5. Not always that bad but when you are riding home with a young child and they stop to pick up 2 drunks going to the bar, it can suck.

They make a killing and since there are no meters much of the income could go unreported. Drivers dont tell dispatch about most people who hail the down, and I do t want to think about how all the cash is handled.

#12. Posted by Yes to the $1, but... on September 01, 2014

Give the $1 increase, but regulate the industry:
1. Phase out older vehicles. Any new cab should not be older than 5, maybe 7 years;
2- Quality of the roads is not a valid argument for crap cars currently used as cabs.  If companies had to invest in newer vehicles, perhaps the drivers would slow down and drive more carefully;
3- Cars should meet minimal safety standards, including cleanliness. I have been in cabs that would never pass the safety test requirements in a “normal” jurisdiction. Cardboard on the floors, smoking in the car, thrash or pet food on the floor is not acceptable;
4- Designate areas where cabs can park to pick-up fares in public areas ie: NorthMart and Ventures. Cabs parking behind parked cars at Ventures is a source of frustration for drivers coming in and out and a security hazard as the cabbies create blind spots;
5- Cabbies work in customer service. A friendly greeting and a hand with luggage, for example, should be expected.

#13. Posted by Tired of sharing on September 01, 2014

By all means, raise the fares, in return mandate the taxi companies, when you call for a cab, that cab is yours and no other calls like down south.

#14. Posted by ..... on September 01, 2014

By all means raise the fares! But the thing they should do is! One customer should be alone in the vehicle! And not pick up so many other customers! And maybe the cabbies should stop talking on the phone consistently! And picking up their friends! I mean they don’t need to pay but we have to that’s not fare at all, and their is soo many cabbies that are really bad drivers! And one cabbie looks like he has seizures when he drives!  But I know its not seizures cause I know what seizure looks like. They also should be more road cautious! Idk how many times I’ve been in cabs that been in the city for a longest time, some even older than me! I trust them more! But the newbies try so hard for more cash! And just literally pass right by if we’re trying to get out of the drive way or trying to go into a parking lot! Idk how many times me n the cab I am
In could have got into a serious accident due other cabbies!

#15. Posted by That Guy on September 02, 2014

I don’t mind the $1 increase. if they do get this, a law should also be passed that they don’t pick up other passengers while attempting to bring you to your destination. If they pick up other passengers while driving you to your destination, take $1 off for every other pick up. I’ve been in cab rides where I get picked up first, then the driver had the nerve to pick up 4 others and drop them off first. Also, security cameras sound good, make it so that the driver does not have control of it so that if they violate passengers, they’re caught on tape from dispatch or another organization and they can face criminal charges.

#16. Posted by whaa? on September 02, 2014

how can this be possible when the cab driver picks me up, than pick up 4 other customers, than drop me off last? it seems to be like that everytime. Im not making this about me, but also for others. Other people have kids to bring to school, and pay an extra 7.00 here and there. Why pay that much when we are getting poor service?. Its just not fair to some of us who work 5 days a week, and in order to get to work and get our children to school and daycare, we pay 7.00 each stop. There goes the money we work for.

#17. Posted by Try This Again on September 02, 2014

“We’re the only industry in town that has no say over what they charge. When you go shopping here, do you see anything on the shelf in any store in town that’s the same price now as it was seven years ago? Absolutely nothing.”...a quote from Craig Dunphy.
Correct observation but, one way to control costs for taxi operators would be to stop increasing the price of oil changes and wheel alignments (currently $125 an hour) at the garages that service the taxi fleets here.
Oh, yeah…that’s the garages owned by the two people interviewed for this article. You can’t ethically cite increases in related service costs that YOU YOURSELVES control…
This alone should knock a percentage point or two off your increase request which would translate to maybe $.25 or more per ride.
You charge your own drivers $30-40 for a quick exterior car wash. No wonder they only wash them once or twice a year.

#18. Posted by george on September 02, 2014

I think the city needs to regulate the cab industry. As an example, it would be illegal to use a car that is burning oil and the interior smells like exhaust!

When you mention this to the driver, he will say “this is what they gave me to drive”.....nonsense!!!!!

#19. Posted by YAK ATTACK on September 02, 2014

Why not start a Bus service. Locate a few different stops in town and set times for pick up.

#20. Posted by shitbox on September 02, 2014

How about first taking those shitbox crown vics off the roads that spew toxic blue smoke from their tailpipe?

#21. Posted by Pining on September 02, 2014

Every employer, private or government, adjusts their payroll to reflect inflation - why do taxi companies have to pine for their cost of living inflation adjustment? Some employers have 1-2 % inflation adjustments per year.  Wonder what the inflation adjustment is for the City of Iqaluit staff and council honourarium?

The taxi companies’ request for an increase is a reasonable request.  It’s also long overdue.

What you need at the City of Iqaluit is a taxi committee that would set criteria for fare increases every few years with a cost of living index so that taxi companies wouldn’t have to pine for it.  Oh wait, we do have a taxi committee ...

#22. Posted by need a bus on September 02, 2014

I don’t care if the fares go up, as for people who complain about lap sitting on the cabs. Before you accept that agreement about being the lone rider behind the cabbie, please do not comoplain about how long your cab takes every morning and do not B.I.C.H. to the dispatcher if that day comes. We do need a bus in the city. I heard before that the cab drivers complained about the low fare that was causing their not having enuf customers.

We are never satisfied. Take it or leave it.

#23. Posted by Flatrate is flat on September 02, 2014

Flat rate is great for most folks riding but flat rate doesn’t work for the cabbies and multi passenger pickups… so have the cabs put meters in. This would solve the issue.

Base fare first passenger is 5.00 plus fare to actual location. Additional passengers are added as well as mileage and wait time.

This would solve the “going by” pickups and multi-passengers pickups and drop offs, allow the Company Managers to assure that are getting all fares collected/ monitor mileage and other cost of each unit and more.

One will find that a ride from airport to hotel is actually 13-15 bucks but is the same for all and metered so no arguments.

#24. Posted by Sure, raise the fare...BUT... on September 02, 2014

...Mandate ONE pick up (as in, household) per cab. Then I’d have NO problem whatsoever with the increase.

#25. Posted by Uvanga on September 02, 2014

I don’t care if the fares go up,but it sucks trying to get a cab in the morning in apex especially if you have to get to work and bring kids to school and when taxi does finally comes it’s half or more full than you have to wait for another one to come it’s frustrating… and they wait for atleast 5 people to call for a cab and they send one down for 7 or 8 people???

#26. Posted by INUMARRI on September 02, 2014

I don’t mind the $1 increase also but they better make sure their dirty cabs that smells like Smoke are totally clean like down south. You never see such dirty cabs down south, and they should do same here.
Also, should make sure the cab driver should NOT have their girls friends riding around all day, because that takes up space for one, and plus if their girls friend is in cab joy riding, they get mad at you if you know them.

#27. Posted by uvanga on September 02, 2014

To those complaning how long it takes for a cab to come. How much longer is it going to take when they do 1 passanger per cab?

#28. Posted by Sam on September 02, 2014

In a Capitalist societ business’ succed and business’ fail. if your taxi cab company is failing then you are not running your taxi cab company well enough. Or maybe you have too many taxi cab drivers.

#29. Posted by Booze and drug taxi drivers on September 02, 2014

The ‘newer’ cab companies (5 years ) have money hungry drivers who don’t give a hoot about their passengers. They scramble to get a passenger all the time when they already have people in the cab and crowding them. I got in a cab recently and told that I had to get into another cab in another location cause I was going to a certain section in town. He was worried about the ‘loss’ of potential customers if he took me to where I wanted to go. Some of these drivers are selling booze and drugs. It would be good to see them caught. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is from what I hear. We need proper buses instead of being forced to cram into filthy, urine-smelling, smoky cabs.

#30. Posted by eskimo joe on September 03, 2014

fine, increase the fare, city hall should force taxis one passage per ride. we are not cattle, nor money machines. increase the fair and be like the rest of canadian taxis. one passage per cab. not “millionaires” that boy’s funneee. i like to see his investment house down south…

#31. Posted by Lazy Money Hungry Drivers... on September 03, 2014

Too many times the cab won’t even pull into the empty driveway, I called a driver out on it once and he said “I have to go back to school to learn how to do that” he didn’t get my money. Too many times the drivers watch elders struggle to safely walk to the cab. Too many times I have received bad service and have felt unsafe in cabs that are falling apart. Once on my way to work a driver asked if I wanted to go park somewhere and procceded to take me on a different route insisting we go somewhere, when I finally got to work he parked as far away from the entrance as he could. I have refused to take cabs for a long while now.  Many times over the winter I had female friends who were going home from the bar or legion get sexually harrassed and wouldn’t call the company to complain. I’m not saying every single cab driver is this way but there are many drivers who do not respect the people they are making a living off of.

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