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Taxi drivers call for vomit surcharge

A group of Vancouver taxi drivers is pushing for a surcharge that would be added to a customer's fare in the unfortunate incidence of vomit in the cab.

Kulwant Sahota knows the experience all too well. He often has to clean up after intoxicated passengers, and said it costs him $50 to $100 for each cleanup.

“There's no dividers in the car or anything and it could end up right in front of you too,” he said, “All of a sudden they just throw up.”

He says sometimes drunk passengers can be persistent enough that they do not want to pay and drivers must call police.

However Mohan Kang with the BC Taxi Association isn't sure a new fee is necessary.

“In B.C. it is implemented. It's just the rare cases that it happens,” he said, pointing to the fact that drivers can ask passengers to cover the full cost of cleanup.

But Sahota wants the surcharge front and centre and well defined for the passenger.

“You can say, ‘Hey, this is the set rate and this is what we charge to have it cleaned,’” he said.

Sahota plans to take a report to the Passenger Transportation Board, which can recommend changes to the Taxi Bill of Rights displayed on every taxi window, which the B.C. government legislated in 2011.

Currently Toronto is looking at a $25 surcharge in case of similar incidents in that city. Sahota is still looking at what that number might look like in B.C.


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