Mandatory Pre-Payment Pilot for Taxis
The City of Winnipeg (City) is committed to improving safety for passengers and drivers in the vehicle for hire industry. In an effort to reduce fare disputes between taxi drivers and passengers, the City is implementing a mandatory pre-payment pilot during select times.
Effective September 30, 2019:
Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., seven days a week, all taxi passengers are required to pay a $10 deposit at the beginning of their trip, regardless of trip length. At the end of the trip, passengers will pay the remaining difference, or be refunded if the final fare is less than $10.
- All payment methods (cash, debit, and credit) are accepted for the deposit
- Refunds may be issued as cash, regardless of initial pre-payment method
- Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., drivers will decline to transport passengers if the pre-payment deposit is not made
Exclusions from the mandatory pre-payment pilot:
- Taxi passengers beginning their trip at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
- Taxi passengers who present a valid taxi voucher
- Taxi passengers who maintain an account with the taxi dispatcher
- Personal transportation providers (rideshare) or limousines
The City consulted with vehicles for hire stakeholders to gather input for consideration to develop a mandatory taxi pre-payment pilot project.
Thank you to over 900 participants who took the survey, available from May 6 to June 26, 2019. Participant feedback on what would work best for a pre-payment pilot to improve safety while maintaining convenience for drivers and passengers was analyzed and considered to develop the parameters for the pilot. A summary of what we heard, including how feedback was considered is available in the Stakeholder Engagement Summary.
During the Taxi Pre-Payment Pilot the Mandatory Pre-Payment decal will be present in taxis.
Taxi industry stakeholders and passengers have identified fare disputes as a source of conflict and a top safety concern. The City is implementing a mandatory prepayment pilot to determine if it will reduce disputes and create a safer environment for drivers and passengers.
The City plans to run the pilot for approximately nine months.
During the pilot, all passengers will be required to pre-pay $10 towards their final fare, regardless of trip length. At the end of the trip, passengers will pay the remaining difference, or be refunded if the final fare is less than $10.
Mandatory pre-payment is in effect every day from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The City consulted with the public and industry stakeholders to help determine the terms of the mandatory pre-payment pilot, including the specific days of the week and times of day. Using a fixed rate reduces the risk of miscalculations or issues at the beginning of the trip.
The pilot does not apply to personal transportation providers or limousines.
The City will make recommendations on the implementation of a mandatory pre-payment for taxis at the conclusion of the pilot, following a review of the feedback received throughout the pilot.
Yes, cash will be accepted. One of the major differences between the taxi industry and personal transportation providers is that taxis can accept cash. Pre-payment in taxis will also be accepted via credit and debit card.
Passengers who have a valid taxi voucher and provide it to the driver will not have to pre-pay.
All payment methods (cash, debit, and credit) are accepted for the deposit. Refunds may be issued as cash, regardless of initial pre-payment method.
The City will track incidents and feedback via 311, as well as through consultation with taxi dispatchers and the Winnipeg Police Service to determine next steps. The pilot will be considered a success if there is a reduction in incidents and conflicts between drivers and passengers.
Each dispatch company has different policies regarding payments. Please contact the dispatcher directly to confirm if pre-authorized payments are allowed prior to your trip.
Having taxi drivers ask for pre-payment each and every trip should reduce any potential discrimination. Please contact 311 to file a complaint if you feel you have been discriminated against. The City takes complaints seriously and will investigate. Outcomes for substantiated complaints may range from warnings to fines up to $1,000 and/or further disciplinary action.
You should request a receipt for the pre-payment amount at the beginning of your trip. You can also display cash payments to the video camera located in the taxi above the dashboard, which will assist the City’s investigation, should there be a dispute.
If you are not taken to your destination, contact 311 to file a complaint, and the City will investigate. Under the Vehicle for Hire By-Law, the City can fine a driver up to $1,000 for failing to take a passenger to their chosen destination.
Pre-payment can likely be made on behalf of a passenger via credit card over the phone with the dispatcher. Please contact the dispatcher directly to confirm this ahead of the trip.
If an account exists with a taxi dispatcher, and the proper information is provided regarding payment, then the fare is assured and no pre-payment would likely need to be made.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 to ensure the appropriate response is provided.
The City expects drivers to operate their cabs with a due level of care. This includes providing good customer service. Should they recognize that someone is in distress, and facing a non-medical emergency, they should be willing to assist if possible, and if their safety is reasonably assured. This may include calling the Police, or providing a short ride to a safe location.
You are required to pay for the service you receive. Under the Vehicle for Hire By-law, the City can fine a passenger up to $1,000 for failing to pay a fare.
Taxi drivers should ensure they have change to provide any cash refunds when the pre-paid amount is more than the final fare on the meter.
The pre-payment amount is a set amount that is easy to communicate and reduces the risk of miscalculations at the beginning of the trip. The same pre-payment amount will apply regardless of the distance of the trip or number of stops, and should not be asked for more than once.
The City has worked collaboratively with the industry and the VFH stakeholder advisory committee to identify opportunities to improve safety in the vehicle for hire industry. A few notable changes include:
- Yearly criminal record checks and Manitoba drivers abstracts
- Audio recording, along with expanded length of time for in-car video recording
- Planned introduction of a driver training refresher course
The City continues to strive towards improving safety for drivers and passengers in the vehicle for hire industry.