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No use for new taxi charge?

Last week the province’s Passenger Transportation Board approved a new fee for anyone soiling or damaging the interior of taxis, but companies in Kelowna say the idea of drunken people vomiting during a ride home is more of a big city problem.

Castanet called multiple taxi companies and limousine services who all said, by varying degrees, that it's not often their drivers must clean up after a passenger ruins the interior.

“And a lot of the people don’t mind if it does happen. I’ve been here six months and it happened once, and (the driver) had no issue,” says Craissa Buchner of Kelowna Cabs.

But she agrees the new $75 fee that can now be charged -- in addition to the fare -- is a good idea.

“Because the driver does end up having to go and clean it, so he’s missing some of his trips, he’s missing some of his work, so this will cover it.”

Okanagan Limousine general manager, Laura Major, says all of their clients sign contracts and provide credit card numbers up front.

“Not only if they get sick, but if they break things or damage the vehicle, their credit card is already pre-authorized for a cleanup fee. It’s in the contract,” she says.

That’s why this is not a serious problem according to Major, who notes her company doesn’t cater to the bar crowd and if anyone does get sick in her limos, it's usually an accident.

But she wonders how these fines can be enforced and what if the passenger doesn’t have any additional money to pay.

Shane Bassi of A1 Limousine also says it is not often that passengers become ill or damage the interior, but he likes the idea of a pre-set fine.

“It should be approved. If people make a mess, they should be more responsible,” he says.

“It’s a very good idea. We want to keep it clean, it happened with people puking in my limousine one time, after that, no more.”

And Sam with Apple Cabs also says it’s a great idea, but that it doesn’t happen very often in Kelowna.

Taxis in Calgary are able to charge $100 to vomiting passengers, while those in Toronto can only charge a $25 fee.

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