Mandatory Pre-Payment Pilot for Taxis
The Pre-Payment Pilot Project is no longer active, however taxi drivers may still request pre-payment as per the Vehicles for Hire By-Law No. 129/2017.
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 implemented a mandatory pre-payment pilot during select times.
Update May 2020: In light of the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19 and the outcomes of the pilot, the City of Winnipeg is ending the pre-payment pilot, effective May 1, 2020. With the discontinuation of the pre-payment pilot, the City of Winnipeg will continue to request reports from dispatchers to document and investigate the magnitude of fare disputes.
We will be reporting back on the results of the pilot, including recommendations on future pre-payment options, within the next couple months.
Drivers will continue to have the options of refusing trips or requesting pre-payment in situations where they feel their safety may be at risk or for those passengers who are known to skip out on fares, per the Vehicles for Hire By-law.
Drivers will continue to be updated on next steps for pre-payment and future options that may be explored to address fare disputes and further discussions with stakeholders will occur.
We will be reporting back on the results of the pilot, including recommendations on future pre-payment options, within the next couple months. The results of driver feedback are being considered and will be available with a full report back on the results of the pilot.
Effective September 30, 2019: Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., seven days a week, all taxi passengers were required to pay a $10 deposit at the beginning of their trip, regardless of trip length. At the end of the trip, passengers were required to pay the remaining difference, or be refunded if the final fare is less than $10.
In March 2020, drivers were asked for their feedback on the taxi pre-payment pilot. Thank you to those who responded. A feedback summary will be available, along with appendices, as part of the City’s report on the pilot.
The project team collected feedback from March 2 to March 20, 2020 through an online survey distributed to taxi drivers. Approximately 2,177 drivers were contacted through an email list. Drivers were asked to complete a short, anonymous survey and provide their feedback on the mandatory taxi pre-payment pilot, including the communications materials provided, the parameters for the pilot, and any changes they have noticed since pilot implementation.
Prior to the pilot, t. he 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 was present in taxis.
Taxi industry stakeholders and passengers identified fare disputes as a source of conflict and a top safety concern. The City implemented a mandatory prepayment pilot to determine if it will reduce disputes and create a safer environment for drivers and passengers.
The City ran the pilot for approximately seven months.
During the pilot, all passengers were required to pre-pay $10 towards their final fare, regardless of trip length. At the end of the trip, passengers were to pay the remaining difference, or be refunded if the final fare was less than $10.
Mandatory pre-payment was 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 reduced the risk of miscalculations or issues at the beginning of the trip.
The pilot did not apply to personal transportation providers or limousines.
The City will be reporting back on the results of the pilot, including proposals and recommendations on future pre-payment options, within 2020.
The City tracked 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.
Having taxi drivers ask for pre-payment each and every trip was intended to reduce any potential discrimination. Regardless of the pre-payment pilot, 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.
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.