For immediate release
September 30, 2019

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MBManitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is responding to news that the City of Winnipeg will begin a pilot project today, September 30, 2019, that will require all taxi passengers riding between 8 pm and 6 am to pay a deposit of $10 at the beginning of their ride.

“The City of Winnipeg asserts that fare disputes are a main source of conflict in Winnipeg taxis, however, the reports we have heard from First Nations citizens sound the alarm over the conduct of taxi drivers as a main source of conflict,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee.

Any person who doesn’t or isn’t able to provide the $10 pre-payment deposit between 8 pm and 6 am will not be able to ride in a taxi. All payment methods will be accepted for the deposit. The following people will be exempt from paying the $10 deposit: those who begin their trip at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, those presenting a valid taxi voucher, or those who maintain an account with the taxi dispatcher.

The pilot project will run for about nine months. The city will monitor the number of fare disputes and customer feedback to determine next steps.

“It’s great that the city is looking at ways to reduce disputes when it comes to public transportation, however, MKO continues to assert that people who use taxis should feel safe at all times and not be subjected to any type of behaviour that is threatening, intimidating, or causes harm,” said Grand Chief Settee. “At MKO we continue to advocate for the safety of First Nations women and girls. We urge the City of Winnipeg to take their concern a step further and develop a clear system for reporting concerns about taxi drivers to increase safety for all First Nations people who use taxis.”

If First Nations citizens from Northern communities have concerns about their safety when it comes to taxi cab companies, they can share these concerns with the MKO by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling us at 1-800-442-0488.