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Fare game: Is deregulating taxi fares fair? | The London Free Press

Full council needs to sign off on the bylaw headed to the community and protective services committee today before it can take effect, but the move would effectively end city hall telling the industry how much it can charge for fares.

Instead, as long as customers the rate up front, and city hall knows how the rates are determined, operators would decide the cost.

That could be based on many factors, including time of day, distance, geographic zone or season.

One flashpoint that’s emerged since Uber pulled into London is its so-called “surge pricing,” when drivers charge a premium at peak demand. Regulated taxi fares don’t allow cabbies the same advantage.

There are now about 4,000 Uber drivers working in London.

“We knew we needed to look at the bylaws again,” Cassidy said. “Brokers were asking for a little bit of flexibility in setting their rates.”

While a minimum $3.50 rate, widely know as the drop rate, would still be charged, the price after that could be adjustable, for example for different times of day or set by geographic zones.

The consumer has to know the charge before the ride, however.

“All (of the fares) must be pre-known and preset,” Cassidy said.

Some drivers The Free Press surveyed weren’t convinced deregulating fares will help them.
“Unless everyone can come together with a standard price, companies will undercut each other,” said Muhammad Osman. “It will come out of the pocket of the drivers.”

Ala Abdulrazak said he prefers the meter to fluid rates.

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Fare game: Is deregulating taxi fares fair? | The London Free Press.