News / Calgary

Calgary relaxes driver fees for accessible cabs

Plateholders will save $650 annually

Accessible cab drivers have many added costs so the city is lowering annual fees for those plateholders.

Metro file photo

Accessible cab drivers have many added costs so the city is lowering annual fees for those plateholders.

The City of Calgary is giving a break to accessible taxi drivers by lowering their annual fees, but Councillor Shane Keating thinks the city could still do more for drivers.

The break for drivers was passed in the Sept. 26 budget. Plateholders will now pay an annual fee of $220 instead of the usual $877.

Mario Henriques, chief livery inspector for the city, said all accessible plates are driver owned. They can't be purchased by larger cab corporations.

He said some of the accessible plates recently released by the city require drivers to be out on weekends from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Keating said accessible cab owners face much higher costs than the average cab driver. First, they must buy a larger vehicle and then pay $10 -$15,000 to add a wheelchair ramp.

From there they incur added costs because of the extra weight of the ramp. Heavier cars are less fuel-efficient and suffer more wear and tear.

Keating wants to see the fee further reduced to a token amount of $5 annually. Saving $872 annually would amount to just under $7,000 in savings over the lifetime of the vehicle to help offset extra costs.

He would also like to see the city provide grants to these cab owners because the service they offer is necessary.

“We have to offer the service, without question,” said Keating. “I’m just wondering if the city can do more.”

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