Editorial note: The following is a submitted letter to the editor. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.
Dearest Kingstonist and whom it may concern,
It has recently been brought to my attention that the Kingston Area Taxi Commission (KATC) has passed a schedule increasing tariffs by 40 per cent for its customers. (Video of the relevant meeting available here, KATC Spring Report 2022 available here.)
On February 15, 2022, Kingston City Council (KCC) passed a motion to approve By-Law #2022-06, transferring the administration of regulating and licensing Kingston’s transportation network companies to the KATC itself. (Minutes of meeting available here, motion appears on page 23)
Within the span of a month since this transferal of authority, the KATC has increased the tariffs of their riders by a whopping 40 per cent, effective April 11, 2022. This is, at the very least, a gross mismanagement by the KCC, and at worst, criminal negligence. Perhaps this is merely the evidence of successful lobbyist action by a commission which, until recently, had very little power. The advent of Uber and other such ride sharing companies has been giving the taxi commission a run for its money for about five years.
While the lay reader may see this as yet another blunder by the Liberal government, as one of my elder cousins seems to insinuate, I believe it to be a far more insidious handing off of powers to alleviate any governmental responsibility for the mitigation of fallout regarding increased cost of life expenses, as well as inflation. If an official can wipe their hands clean of responsibility, it is all the more likely that they, if challenged during election season, can simply say, ‘The powers that be have handed the KATC sole power to govern their own tariffs free of municipal influences.’ The danger here lies in the fact that measures and actions such as this committed by the KCC directly influence big business to set up shop in Kingston, knowing that, if a smaller collection of companies could accomplish such increases, they (big business) could likely do the same by simply lobbying.
It is my hope that by sharing the information provided by Modern Taxi that more citizens might be made aware of the situation, as this will greatly impact numerous communities, including but not limited to: the elderly, those on fixed incomes, the blind, and even alcoholics.
This 40 per cent increase in tariffs will influence the ability of the elderly to adequately have access to grocery stores and social activities; those on a fixed income will further suffer from a lack of funding (especially in more rural areas), and alcoholics who have, in the past, made the appropriate and correct decision to take a taxi rather than driving, will be less inclined to do so due solely to this enormous increase in prices.
I pray that this article finds its way to the pages of the Kingstonist, for many need to be made aware of these predatory price increases – gouges I would say.
St. Lawrence College student
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