Iqaluit hikes elders’ taxi fares to $7

$2 increase a challenge for those who don’t make money, one elder says

In Iqaluit, an elders’ taxi fare increase to $7 from $5 wemt into effect Wednesday, a day after city council approved the 40 per cent hike. (File photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit’s new $7 taxi fare for riders 65 and older came as a surprise Wednesday to at least one elder, who said an extra $2 per ride is a big increase.

The City of Iqaluit announced to the public Wednesday that the new elders’ taxi fare of $7 — a 40 per cent increase over the previous five-dollar fare — was taking effect immediately.

“I don’t like it at all,” said Bert Shoo, who is a regular at the Elders’ Qammaq.

“I don’t think they [should] have to pay $7 now because [elders] don’t make money.”

The new fare was recommended at a Feb. 1 taxi review committee meeting.

It was approved at Tuesday’s city council meeting, with councillors Simon Nattaq and Sam Tilley voting against it.

Coun. Methusalah Kunuk, who sits on the taxi committee, explained the reason for the increase. During the council meeting, he said taxi companies reported people had been abusing the reduced elders’ fee, which was lower than the $9 fee the general public pays.

“Certain calls that they get from units are not elders,” Kunuk said, speaking in Inuktitut through the city hall interpreter.

Regardless, Shoo said he’s not happy with the change and wishes it wasn’t the case. He and other elders often rely on taxis to get around quickly, and the two-dollar increase will add up.

“It’s going to be a lot for elders,” he said.

It’s not just the elders’ taxi fare that will see an increase this year.

The regular fare is due to increase to $9.25 in April. That price change is part of a two-year implementation plan council approved two years ago.

 

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(43) Comments:

  1. Posted by Frobisher bay boy on

    Where’s are public transit system why aren’t are Inuit leaders & politicians & organization’s us Inuit especially for those in apex figure something out NTI , QIA , GN were in 2024 should have some short of transportation across the town & apex .

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    • Posted by John WP Murphy on

      Start your own business Frobisher boy
      Plenty of financial support out there

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    • Posted by Nunavut mom on

      They tried this with the bus service. People complained then, there was no support from the city, and it petered out.

  2. Posted by Frobisher bay boy on

    Where’s are public transit system why aren’t are Inuit leaders & politicians & organization’s helping us Inuit out ? especially for those i living n apex figure something out & do something NTI , QIA , GN were in 2024 should have some short of transportation across the town & apex . (NEED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN IQALUIT)

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    • Posted by John WP Murphy on

      Why don’t you and a couple of friends start your transit system? There is lots of financial support available. You can’t depend on the Hamlet or Inuit organizations to do everything for you.

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  3. Posted by lol on

    The fact in 2024 that we have flat fares whether it’s 2m or 2km is a joke. The internet is sufficient here to allow Uber, why are we wasting our money on regulating a monopoly that has a ton of overhead? Open Iqaluit to Uber and let’s drop this money laundering operation. Maybe council would have to focus on real issues instead of nonsensical things like taxi committees if they made taxi regulation not a problem!

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    • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

      Really? You think Uber would be better than a flat rate taxi? The people in Iqaluit who can afford their own cars have no interest in taking a side job as Uber drivers. They don’t need the money, don’t want the maintenance and fuel expenses, and frankly don’t want to be a worse version of a taxi. Wait times would be longer, and service would be slower because there would be far less drivers than there currently are.

      Rates would be higher because the City wouldn’t be able to cap them. There would be all manner of exploitive pricing because that’s the only way to make the Uber business model work.
      “all pickups from a bar have an extra 5 dollar charge”
      “extra charge per suitcase for anyone travelling to or from the airport”
      “no service from 10pm to 7am sunday to thursday”

      Uber in Iqaluit would be a terrible idea in general, but using it to replace taxis would be the worst way to address this issue.

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      • Posted by lol on

        The only people who benefit from the taxi system is the taxi company and the city that gets their fees for the licenses. The People lose. Uber would work just fine, the taxi drivers who are here and are often being take advantage of would be able to run their own enterprises. Those who charge excessive fees will lose out to those who don’t. It’s called competition. If it would be so bad, open it to uber and then see what happens – maybe everyone will stay with the cab company!
        .
        The existing system is a borderline monopoly, with the taxi company’s only audience being a group of counsellors who have no qualifications.

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        • Posted by Oh for god’s sake… on

          The residents of Iqaluit benefit. The current flat rate is lower than anywhere else I have ever taken a cab.
          The current taxi drivers do not own the cars, and would not be able to just start their own businesses instead of driving cabs. It would be an unprofitable and desperate race to the bottom that would hurt both the new businesses (if they were able to start up at all), and the riders, who would see less service, and higher costs.
          As for the councilors, they are the elected members of the city, entrusted with this responsibility by the city residents. For you to just dismiss them as people who ‘have no qualifications’ shows you are an unserious person making unserious arguments.

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          • Posted by lol on

            It’s a serious argument to point out that these people who have no background or expertise in transportation regulation. It is evident when they apparently permit fee raises on the basis of purported fraud of passengers pretending to be elders, reported by the company that stands to benefit from it.
            .
            Usually regulators consider data, do research, have public sessions etc before deciding to raise rates on monopolized services. I guess we will just take Caribou cab’s word for it and save the trouble.
            .
            The fact you can’t even conceive of a situation that would have Uber/Tech vs Caribou Cab and see where the dust settles suggests you have a personal stake in the monopoly staying as-is. Everyone here knows the monopolies do not mean better service and better prices for consumers. In days long gone where there were not as many people, the town was smaller physically, before high speed internet, and they didn’t have debit machines that worked wirelessly, it made sense to have flat rate cabs driven by licensees. Today, let competition ensue with tech being permitted and stop protecting dinosaurs.

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  4. Posted by Seniors’ Benefits on

    I’m not saying that I agree with the fare hike, but Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits are all indexed to inflation. So, elders do “make” money, and the amount of money they get increases with inflation.

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    • Posted by alex on

      Yeah valid point, also though, the reasoning for the fare hike seems to not necessarily disclose economic reasons, but lack of management of the fare by the cab company. Which makes it a little silly. If they would simply state economic reasons for the fare hike, then its more acceptable than saying, and I quote, “Certain calls that they get from units are not elders”

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      • Posted by Seniors’ Benefits on

        I 100% agree with you. Raising the Elders’ fare because the cab company isn’t enforcing it properly is illogical.

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    • Posted by Lili Weemen on

      I discovered this January that my CPP increased by $27.97 and my OAS by $4.27 from last year and the average Elder got plus or minus that amount, enough to buy 4 taxi vouchers.

  5. Posted by alex on

    “Coun. Methusalah Kunuk, who sits on the taxi committee, explained the reason for the increase. During the council meeting, he said taxi companies reported people had been abusing the reduced elders’ fee, which was lower than the $9 fee the general public pays.”
    “Certain calls that they get from units are not elders,” Kunuk said

    I am not necessarily against the raise, but if the raise is because of what Kunuk is saying here, it makes no sense. Because the Taxi company couldn’t properly maintain the elders fee or enforce it, they raise the price for elders? Is it the consumers fault? I am confused.

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  6. Posted by Cashless Taxi Please on

    How about we move with the times. If I can pay visa or debit for Snack Delivery why can I not pay Visa or Debit for taxi fare? Council should mandate the taxi take card payments.

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    • Posted by L’ill Bill on

      Say no more, say no more 😉😉

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  7. Posted by 982 on

    Would be nice to see qia or nti operate an elders bus during the day so elders can go shopping and visit friends and family for free

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    • Posted by maybe on

      There are 2 buses in Kuujjuaq, one that elders get to call for free pick-up and drop-off. The other one is for the public, just drives around town all day on the same route until 5, with a lunch break of course. It costs 2 dollars to get in but most people don’t even pay.

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      • Posted by different in da big city! on

        As someone from Kuujjuaq living in Iqaluit it has always seemed so weird that there is no bus system in Iqaluit given that we have something going in a town that is much less hilly and spread out…
        .
        The taxi company has a lot of power here in Iqaluit!
        .
        Iqaluit could have a few busses here in town and one that runs from Iqaluit to Apex and I bet lots of people would use it… both elders and non-elders

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  8. Posted by No Nonsense Larry on

    Abusing the elder fare system??? How hard is it to check a persons identification to see if they are eligible for the elder fare!? No identification? Well surely you can tell if someone is over 65!!! Jeez eh, anything to make a buck, even on the backs of Elders.. Sad day in iqaluit politics when they start gouging Elders too..

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    • Posted by Who Qualifies? on

      65? At NorthMart they give the discount at 55? So, who is an ‘elder’ in Iqaluit?

  9. Posted by Northerner on

    Someone. Anyone. Raise cash for a small bus with wheel chair ramp. Start driving elders around iqaluit for atleast 2 or 3 bucks for gas and maintenance. Elders and disabled only ride the bus.

    • Posted by Northman on

      A small bus down south now is around $175,000.

      • Posted by Pricey on

        I can’t imagine what the insurance cost would be for that. Certainly, more than any private company, or one not backstopped by government, would want to take on. Then add in maintenance, storage location, proper licensing for drivers, the need for multiple drivers, designated pick-up and drop off points, and things are getting pricey. T

        Hanson’s could probably do it, but presumably they don’t see the benefit.

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    • Posted by John WP Murphy on

      The elders society had a bus that was used for that exact reason.
      What happened?

  10. Posted by John WP Murphy on

    Agreed but not keeping up with current increases.
    Benefits cola is based on last years numbers. Not on 40% taxi increases dictated by your hamlet council.

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    • Posted by Not All Cost Changes Are Equal on

      When’s the last time the Elder fare increased? I have no idea, but I found a 2019 article (5 years ago) that said Elder fares would remain at $5 when regular fares changed. If it was 10 years ago, then (after quickly looking at some CPI numbers) those benefits indexed to inflation have probably increased around 30%. That’s not too far off, makes for a 50 cent difference in that case. And indexing doesn’t mean that every single thing changes at the same rate. We’re talking about a $2 change in taxi fare. If an Elder is in public housing at $60 rent, when’s the last time their housing costs changed? The indexed benefits have increased greatly since the last time minimum public housing rent changed.

  11. Posted by Nti voter on

    Get that 158 k back from the twins and buy a bus for Iqaluit elders

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  12. Posted by ITN on

    You realize NTI and QIA have like $4,000,000,000 right?

  13. Posted by Lili Weemen on

    Life should not be that complicated… I feel terrible for these elders who asked me what was I doing sitting at the polling station, instead of doing like other candidates picking them up to vote for them. There is no free lunch and few months later you have to pay for that free ride that you got to vote for these people who gave you the $2 hike in taxi fare. May I humbly suggest that the city buys the $7 taxi vouchers and sell them to the elders at $5 to be picked up at city hall, just by modestly subsidizing $2. Would the city go bankrupt? Of course not! God bless you all!

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    • Posted by alex on

      So the problem with this solution. Let’s start at the beginning, the taxi company complains that people abuse the elders fee. That lead to the taxi review committee to recommend at $2 hike, 40% raise of the fee for elders. Say the city buys the vouchers like you say, and sell them back. How will this prevent the abuse. If the taxi company didn’t want to manage the elder fee in the first place, what makes you think they wont take all the vouchers no matter who give it to them? You still have the same issue that was reported, the mismanagement of the elders fare. So now, instead of a taxi company having to manage its business, the taxpayers will have to manage the abuse of the system? That just does not fix the problem, whatever the true problem is.

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      • Posted by Lili Weemen on

        Hi Alex,

        I volunteer (without pay) to come to city hall to sell these Elders taxi vouchers at $5 subsidized by the city, every Friday between 6 pm and 8 pm as long as the buyer comes with a valid ID that prove the age to be over 60. What makes me feel like crying and laughing at the same time, is these elders don’t even understand what has happened.

        Well what can you do about politics in the slow lane…

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        • Posted by Open the Door to Elder Abuse on

          Hi Lili,
          .
          Then you’ve got people asking their parents or grandparents to go buy them taxi vouchers, then a 30-something-year-old gets into a cab and hands the driver an Elder pass voucher. What does the cab driver do? You were at the city hall verifying everybody that got those vouchers was an Elder, they can’t ask to verify again? Otherwise they may as well just have, you know… an Elders’ fare?

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          • Posted by Lili Weemen on

            I have seen cases where the cab driver goes to the bank waiting for the client to get cash to pay the fare and disappear and it happens everyday but the average Inuk is honest and pays cab fare. I always pay cab fare before getting on the taxi and only have 2 five dollar bills in my taxi pocket to avoid any argument. Unfortunately most people pay at destination and on the other hand you pay bus fare as you enter the bus. If you do not have the right fare, you should not be allowed in the taxi. I spend $300 per month on transportation and now it will cost me a hefty $420.

  14. Posted by sealmeat on

    ‘Certain calls that they get get are from elders’,, as Councillor

  15. Posted by sealmeat on

    ” certain call that they get from units are not from elders” says Councillor Kunuk What an answer for raising a 40% increase; either the translation was way off or Coun. Kunuk ‘s reasoning is way off. Mayor Awa was asked about the complains about taxi service, this morning, and he just brushed off the question and said call the taxi company.

    • Posted by Lili Weemen on

      This morning Mayor Awa hinted that the city might consider subsidizing the Elders’ taxi fare and might consider asking for help from NTI and QIA. This year’s city budget does not include any tax increase for residents and have a capital surplus of $26 million and an operating surplus of $2 million. The city can easily subsidize the $2 taxi fare or give 15 to 20 free taxi vouchers to the Elders every month to cushion the increase.

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  16. Posted by John WP Murphy on

    Wish we had a taxi business in Kugluktuk to constantly complain about. Iqaluit!! The hamlet is made up of resident complainers. Elders should pay the regular taxi fares. No more handouts.

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  17. Posted by Northerner on

    Wait times for taxi is short, i assume. Big bucks to be made lol.

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  18. Posted by Northerner on

    These people are paying. What’s with southerners talking about handouts? Blacks,whites,Asians,Indians. Nunavut is an underminded territory. Least paid of all. Even gazans and Israelis and Ukrainians and Africans benefit much more from Canada than nunavut benefits from Canada.

    • Posted by Very Factual on

      There is no federal money coming north… self-sufficient territory

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  19. Posted by Northerner on

    Why aren’t Inuit boycotting the northwest company? They more than double prices of food. Is NN trying to focus that away from Inuit by choosing nonsense stories and headline? The northwest company is robbing Inuit everyday.

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