Finally. Mississauga taxi, limo, tow truck operators and auto service stations received some relief from the impact of the pandemic, when on June 2 City Council approved a 25 per cent reduction in renewal fees for 2021.
The item had been deferred twice before being voted on by Council, which approved it by an 8-4 count.
“Every little bit helps. But you’ve still got almost half the plates on the shelf,” long-time plate owner Mark Sexsmith tells roadwarriornews.com.
He was among those who feared that, with the two deferrals, the City would, “find some way of charging the taxi industry full price, while giving everybody else a break.”
And he notes the 25 per cent reduction represents a savings of only $120 and is a far cry from Brampton, where taxi fees were waived completely for 2021.
Fellow plate owner Peter Pellier suggests that, “Of late, no other business sector has suffered greater financial hardship than the taxi industry,” (witness the 339 plates on the shelf), and that, “no longer is there any correlation between the health of the taxi industry and the amount paid in fees.”
In a May 5 letter to the City, industry veteran Alexander Mantadis agreed that, “It is unsustainable for Mississauga taxi owners to continue to pay the City $480 on an annual per plate basis when income has severely plummeted due both to the pandemic, and the fundamentally changed regulatory environment which provides an unequal and overwhelming advantage to ride hailing over the taxi industry.”
He suggests that moving forward, Mississauga ought to emulate the “fairer approach” currently being applied in the Town of Oakville, where a shelved plate costs $50 annually, and fees are only required when the plate is actually placed on the road.
According to a May 12 City of Mississauga staff report (entitled “Review of Business Licensing Fees and Relief Options), “As a Tier 2 license taxi, limo and airport transportation services would see their fees reduced from $480 to $360, a 25 per cent reduction. Tow truck services would see it reduced from $603 to $402.25.”
The staff report observed that, “There is a level of uncertainty, as it is unclear what the long-term effect of the pandemic and the concomitant provincial regulations will have on the business community.”
In voting in favour, Mayor Bonnie Crombie said it was important to offer “some clarity” for these businesses suffering through the pandemic.