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Vehicles for Hire

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.

Additional terms:

  • 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

Stakeholder Engagement

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 Pre-Payment Brochure Taxi Pre-Payment Brochure

General FAQ's

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Why is the City undertaking this pilot?

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.

How long is the pilot anticipated to last?

The City plans to run the pilot for approximately nine months.

What is the minimum mandatory charge? When will it be enforced?

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.

How were the terms of the pilot determined?

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.

Will the pilot apply to personal transportation providers (rideshare) or limousines?

The pilot does not apply to personal transportation providers or limousines.

Could mandatory minimum pre-payment for taxis become permanent?

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.

Will cash be accepted as part of the pre-payment 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.

How will taxi vouchers apply to the pre-payment pilot?

Passengers who have a valid taxi voucher and provide it to the driver will not have to pre-pay.

How will refunds be conducted?

All payment methods (cash, debit, and credit) are accepted for the deposit. Refunds may be issued as cash, regardless of initial pre-payment method.

What is the plan for monitoring the pre-payment pilot and how will the success of the pilot be evaluated?

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.

Can credit card users allow for a pre-authorized amount (similar to a gas station), rather than paying twice?

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.

What is being done to ensure drivers aren’t discriminating against passengers?

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.

How will the pre-payment amount be recorded to ensure accuracy at the end of the trip and accountability of both drivers and passengers?

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.

How will accountability be enforced to ensure drivers take the passenger to their chosen destination?

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.

How will pre-payment influence those who have payment waiting at the destination (e.g. a child)?

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.

How will pre-payment influence those who have a company or organization paying their fare or an account?

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.

What happens if someone is experiencing a medical emergency and requires a taxi but does not have a method of pre-payment available?

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 to ensure the appropriate response is provided.

What happens if someone is experiencing a non-medical emergency and requires a taxi but does not have a method of pre-payment available?

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.

What accountability will be in place for passengers who do not pay the difference at the end of their trip?

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.

Will taxi drivers be required to carry enough change for pre-payment refunds?

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.

How will pre-payment be determined for multi-stop trips? Or for trips when the passenger does not know their final destination?

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.

What other steps is the City taking to improve safety for taxi drivers and passengers?

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.

Last update: September 13, 2019