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Cab increase a no-go in Calgary

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Unlike their Edmonton counterparts, Calgarians will not have to dig into their pocket for late-night taxi surcharges.

The Calgary Cab Drivers' Association proposed a $3 surcharge for late-night riders in a letter to the city in early December. If this proposal passed, taxi passengers would have faced an additional charge during peak hours-- approximately between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. The City of Calgary looked at the proposal, but because of strong opposition decided not to move ahead with the surcharge at this time.

Associated Cabs president Roger Richard disagreed with the surcharge.

"Nobody wants it," said Richard. "It is not going to happen."

He added that an extra cost would discourage people from using their service.

Edmonton adopted a similar surcharge in 2008, but no drop in service has been reported.

"There is a huge implication and it would not be good for the public, passengers or the industry," said Richard.

Richard noted that not only bar patrons take night taxis, but also shift workers, seniors, airport passengers and other patrons.

Representative for the Calgary Cab Drivers' Association Rajiv Kapil, who put forward the surcharge proposal, thinks the increase in fare will allow for better taxi service in the city.

According to a Jan. 4 Calgary Herald article, Kapil believes the increase would give incentive to drivers to work the less desirable late night shifts. He also believes the surcharge would remedy the problem of lengthy wait times for passengers.

Second-year U of C biology student Angeline Cauab said the late night surcharge would deter her from using taxis.

"It is dangerous for those who need to take a cab and can't afford it," said Cauab. "I would say it is a bad idea."

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