Local cabbies push for vomit tax
Some Montreal cabbies are pushing to adopt a clean-up fee for passengers who get sick.
The charge would help deal with an issue that has long plagued taxi drivers who often ferry highly inebriated customers from place to place, with the occasional unfortunate regurgitative mishap.
"The person opens my door halfway on the highway and unfortunately they had an accident all on my door on the carpet as well," said Michael Monfared, who drove a taxi for seven years before becoming a supervisor at Atlas Taxi.
The fee could range up to $100.
Such vomit taxes have existed in other cities for several years. In Canada, the charge for messing up a taxi ranges from $25 in Toronto, to $100 in Calgary.
These kinds of cleanups are common, said George Tatakis, owner of Classy Car Wash.
“It costs about $50 to $75, it depends how much time it's going to take for the odour to go away completely,” he said. Depending how big the mess is, cleaning it up can take anywhere from two to four hours and it involves at least two cleaning products.
Some local cabbies have expressed skepticism concerning the proposal, noting that collecting the fee might be a time-consuming and conflict-ridden undertaking.
"When they throw up, they're drunk, then they don't want to pay. They're going to start arguments with the driver," said taxi driver Hassan Chamseddine.
Taxi drivers have also had the option of suing such customers in small claims court but no examples of such a suit could be found in a search of Quebec court records.
The city is also looking at new ways to increase their safety, following the murders of two taxi drivers in the past five years. One measure they are considering is adding security cameras to their cars.
A decision on that and a potential clean-up fee is expected by the end of summer.