Hamilton to keep reduced fees for inactive taxi plates pending upcoming review

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Published February 6, 2024 at 2:51 pm

Hamilton has agreed to extend a reduced inactive plate program to help an industry still recovering from the pandemic.

In 2021 with COVID raging in the city the taxi industry was declared an essential service and with 120 of 470 total taxi plates in Hamilton inactive the owners of those cabs ‘parked’ were at risk of forfeiting their plate or having to reapply for a license.

The City then introduced a $115 inactive fee – as compared to the annual licensing fee of $687 – to help taxi owners remain solvent. The fee was extended in December of that year for an additional year (with the fee now $120), with about 50 inactive cabs at that time.

The number of ‘parked’ cabs is back up to 101 so City staff – in response to pleas from the industry – recommended the inactive fee be reinstated.

With delegations from the city’s cab industry – represented by Blue Line, Hamilton Taxi and Wavetrans (which provides para transit and wheelchair transportation) – in attendance, Council discussed the extension in December but threw it back to the Planning Committee for more study.

Committee members gave it a green light by a 9-3 vote, with Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson questioning why the cab industry was being given special privileges, especially as neighbouring municipalities have already returned to pre-pandemic inactive plate fee rates.

Staff is estimated the loss in revenue to the city will be about $60,000.

The reduced fees will remain in place until staff comes back with a comprehensive review of the state of the industry in Hamilton.

New cab drivers in Hamilton must undergo some of the most rigorous service and skills training in the province, with a mandatory $800 program covering everything from customer service and local geography to CPR training and cultural sensibility.

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