May 6, 2022
Cornwall, ON – Prices on the consumer goods and services that we use tend to rise with the rate of inflation. That rate hovers between 1 and 2 percent a year, and people adjust their budgets and spending accordingly. However, since 2013, the taxis who serve the city have done so with rates frozen at 2013 dollars. On May 5, 2022, the Police Services Board, which regulates the taxi industry, voted to adjust the fee schedule. The current inflation rate is hitting between 3% and 5% but taxis have fallen behind and without Board intervention, the industry would simply collapse.
The price of keeping our valued cabs on the road will be an extra fifty cents start fee, from $3.50 to $4.00 starting May 19, 2022 and the rate per kilometre will go from $1.75 to $1.90 a kilometre at the same time. The Board recognizes that the public will experience a form of sticker shock that always accompanies a fee change, but Board Chair Elaine MacDonald points to the quality and professionalism of the service. The taxis have not complained but they simply cannot keep their cars safely maintained and operated in 2022 on 2013 dollars.
Even with these hikes, the adjusted rate will still not reach the inflationary increase over the last 9 years, which is 15%. Board Member Glen Grant said “We can’t ever let this situation happen again. Let’s consider instituting a regular review cycle that would see small and regular increases tied to the cost-of-living increase annually or biannually, but never again stretched out to a 9-year period. It’s a wonder we have any cars still operating in the city.”
The Board is very appreciative of the research conducted by Staff Sergeant Robert Archambault for their deliberations. Among the facts he gathered were statistics on cost-of-living increases since 2013 and taxi fees in other municipalities such as Brockville, Belleville, North Bay, Peterborough and Kingston with which Cornwall is often compared. The start fees across the board in those communities started at $4.00 and ranged through $4.25 up to $4.50.