U-Need-A few extra bucks
By Brendan Howe
Fares for all London cab companies will experience a jump in price as a result of a recent city council decision made Sept. 2.
Starting in October there will be a 7.5 per cent increase in cab rates, as stated in a new city council bylaw. This is the first increase since a five per cent increase in Oct. 1995.
"It's a very reasonable increase," said Tom Donnely, general manager of Aboutown Transportation. "We feel that it's about time."
Under the amendment to the by-law, the meter in each cab will start at $2.50 instead of the present $2.40 and will increase by increments of $0.25 compared with the current $0.10 increase.
The good news for consumers is the by-law also states there will no longer be an extra $1.10 charge for transporting more than four people in one vehicle.
Students who use an Aboutown cab card will not see the effect of the price increase until next September, Donnely said.
Sam Castiglione, VP-student issues for the University Students' Council, explained the cab card is available for $5 to students and with it they can travel to or from campus at a fixed rate.
He said Aboutown has a contract with the USC for the discount cards which expire Aug. 31 next year and cannot change the flat rates charged to card holders.
"The price increases are not astronomical. I'd be much more concerned if they were for the LTC [London Transit Commission] because students use that for daily commuting," Castiglione said.
Donnely said this jump brings prices almost in line with the cost of living increase of 13.5 per cent.
A large portion of the price increase will go to the drivers, he said, adding cab drivers either make a commission on fares or pay a flat rate for the use of the cab.
"It's about time. We deserve a little extra money," said U-Need-A Cab Ltd. driver Ayo Tadesse. "We go through a lot of hassles and harassment by students."
Donnely explained according to the Canadian Automobile Association, the expense of operating a motor vehicle has increased 36 per cent in the last 10 years, adding rising cab fares is a good way of accounting for this.
He added Aboutown competitor Checker and other limousine companies must maintain rates that are 10 per cent higher than conventional cab companies.