Winnipeg’s taxi industry meets with city’s mayor, voices coronavirus challenges

The Winnipeg Community Taxi Association met with Mayor Brian Bowman Thursday to discuss challenges the industry has faced during COVID-19, and their hopes of working with the city to continue to provide essential services.

The taxi industry in Winnipeg says they experienced a drastic drop in revenue due to COVID-19 over the last six months, Unicity Taxi Limited noting at one point they recorded an 85-per cent drop in rides.

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The group is asking the City of Winnipeg for relief on some of the fees it pays as well as a review of regulations and bylaws.

“It’s been two years since the city took over regulating the industry,” Spokesperson for the Winnipeg Community Taxi Association, Joe Masi said.

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“So want to talk to the city about licences, number of licences, fines, some of the issues around traffic regulations, things that would make it better for the industry to provide the services to the people of Winnipeg.”

4:45 Answering your COVID-19 questions
Answering your COVID-19 questions

“Our expenses are same as it is, but our income went way down,” said Tarlochan Gill, chairperson of Unicity Taxi Limited.

“It’s very hard for industries these days to survive, because lots of businesses are closed, lots of hotels are closed and there is not business for us from there.”

The group says talks with Mayor Bowman went well Thursday.

“We can’t stress strongly enough that the world has changed for us as an industry,” Duffy’s Taxi employee, Paramjit Gill, said in a release. “We have to be prepared for any and all outcomes over the next weeks and months.

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“That is why our message to Mayor Bowman was that we want to work with the city to ensure the sustainability of the essential service we provide.”

Council is said to meet next Wednesday to discuss lowering dispatch fees as well as the suggested review of regulations and bylaws.

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