An upcoming pilot project will see some Winnipeg taxi passengers pay a portion of their fare at the start, rather than the end, of their rides.
Like gas stations that require pre-payment at night, taxi drivers in the experiment would seek partial fares in advance at certain times.
The project is about reducing conflict, so drivers don't get skipped out of a fare, said Grant Heather, manager of Vehicles for Hire, the municipal body formed in 2018 to regulate taxis, limos and ride shares.
Fare conflicts between drivers and passengers happen more often at night, he said.
Under the pilot project, passengers will pay a certain amount as soon as they get in a taxi and tell the driver their destination. This will cover the flat fee for getting in the car, plus a portion of the journey. Once the car arrives at the destination, the passenger will pay the difference of the fare.
The city's website says the pre-payment charge "will be fixed and reasonable." The rate could change if the city decides to continue with pre-payment after the trial is over, Heather said.
Ideally, the pilot would start around late summer or early fall, but no start date has been set, he said. The project will run for about nine months.
The city is seeking public input on the change and people can fill out an online survey until June 26. Feedback will be used to help determine terms of the pilot project, such as the amount of the pre-payment charge and when to enforce it. The survey is available online here.
The six ride-hailing services in Winnipeg — Cowboy Taxi, Hire PTP, InstaRyde, MY CAB app, ReRyde and TappCar — will not be part of this trial since the services charge passengers' credit cards through their respective apps.