Taxi Fee Discussion Gets Heated

Kirk Vivier with Essex Taxi asks council to reduce cab licensing fees, June 1, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

A heated exchange at this week’s Essex Town Council meeting over taxi licensing fees has prompted one business to leave town.

Kirk Vivier with Essex Taxi wanted a reduction in fees, saying it’s cheaper in surrounding municipalities. “What can we do to keep Essex Taxi going?” He asks council. “Do you care about your seniors here? Do we want to promote drinking and driving or are we going to charge me 320% higher than the highest municipality around?”

Council voted to keep fees the same and Vivier says he will be closing the Essex branch of his business by the end of June. Essex Taxi is one of only two companies based in the municipality.

Fees to license both a cab and driver in Essex is $272 annually, while in Lakeshore it’s $133 and $120 in Chatham. Back in July, the town reduced taxi licensing fees by nearly 50%. “I really think it’s fair,” says Councillor Sherry Bondy. “The council of the day reduced the fees in order to encourage more licensing of taxi cabs in our community because we understand they’re an essential service.”