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'Vomit fee' proposed for Toronto taxicabs

Jan. 17, 2014 at 1:43 AM   |   Comments

TORONTO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Toronto cab drivers should be allowed to charge passengers a $25 "vomit fee" if they soil the taxicab, the city's taxi licensing division recommended.

The recommendation, which must be approved by the City Council, was included in a 105-page report, following an exhaustive, three-year review that also called for other reforms, including making more taxis wheelchair accessible, mandating they have credit and debit machines, and letting drivers demand up to $25 in payment upfront "when they deem necessary" to crack down on fare jumping.

The vomit fee, officially called a "cleaning fee" in the report, was Recommendation No. 23 of the Taxicab Industry Review.

"Drivers reported that passengers vomiting or otherwise soiling their taxicabs pose a significant cost," said the Final Report, which can be found at tinyurl.com/UPI-Toronto-vomit-fee.

"If a passenger soils a taxicab, that taxicab cannot serve another passenger until it is properly cleaned," the report said.

"During the consultations, drivers commented that they want passengers to pay a fee if they vomit in or soil the taxicab," it said. "It was also reported that some taxicab drivers already charge some passengers a cleaning fee, in contradiction to the current by-law. These unregulated fees can be in excess of $100."

Some cabbies currently decide the cleaning fees based on the time they estimate it will take to clean the mess, the report said.

The recommended $25 fee on top of the metered fare is based on the average taxicab fare, seeking to ensure "all passengers are treated equally," the report said.

"A regulated cleaning fee will help offset time lost and cost to clean the taxicab, and ensure consumer protection against unregulated and exorbitant fees," it said.

This cleaning fee must be listed on the tariff card displayed in all taxicabs "and must be appropriately reflected on the receipt in the 'total fare charged,'" the report said.

The proposed fee brought a swift response on Twitter.

"Following #RobFord controversy Toronto tries to improve image with proposed vomit fee for taxis," Mark O'Henly of Fort McMurray, Alberta, wrote, referring to the Toronto mayor who became embroiled in a substance-abuse scandal.

"First baggage fees at the airport, now this," wrote someone identified as More_Miscellany.

"I do agree with the vomit fee. That's nasty," wrote Flavia1334.

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