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From mid-2006 to August 2008, there was a shortage of taxis in the city, making it possible to wait for up to 60 minutes after phoning for a cab. However, with the economic slowdown starting in August 2008, demand for taxis dropped significantly, leading to an end to the cab shortage.
If you do have problems getting a cab, Calgary's cab companies offer the following tips:
As of May 2008, the legally-regulated cab fares in Calgary are $3.40 (minimum fare, charged as soon as the meter starts), plus $0.30 cents for each 135 metres of travel. That means that a 5 km (3 mile) trip will cost $10.60, while a 10 km (6 mile) trip will be $18. Wait time is to be charged at $30 per hour.
This online cab fare calculator seems to be accurate with the distance charge calculations for Calgary cab fares; it's hard to know how accurate their estimated "wait time" charges are: www.calgary.taxime.ca The website and independent calculations both agree that it will cost $36 to get to downtown from the airport; the website adds an $11 wait time charge, for $47 in total.
A number of hotels operate courtesy shuttles to pick up their guests from the airport; a list of these hotel shuttles can be found at the Calgary Airport's website.
The following car rental companies have branches at Calgary Airport:
Car rental companies that do not have branches at the airport, such as Driving Force and Rent-A-Wreck tend to be less expensive. If you wait 24 hours after arriving in Calgary to rent your car from a non-airport location, you can avoid paying the airport concession fees. In fact, some off-site locations will not care if you have arrived in the past 24 hours, and/or may allow you to return your vehicle at the airport for no additional chrage. This can amount to a savings of up to 50% in some cases. On the other hand, if you are accessing Calgary from the airport, the savings may be offset by the time and expense of a cab from the airport to an off-airport car rental location. It's best to inquire well in advance to see if this will be a practical and economical option for you.
It is prudent to book a rental car ahead of time.
A tactic that may or may not be cheaper than dealing directly with a "mainstream" car rental company is reserving your car through an Internet car rental site.But be careful to note all the components of the price package to ensure that you are comparing like for like. One company's quotation may look cheaper, but it may exclude elements that you'll need to pay upon taking deliverry of the vehicle. Add-ons that you should look out for include:
When you reserve a vehicle, you should make sure that the terms and conditions are agreed in writing.
It also is prudent to shop around for collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance. Some credit card companies include CDW insurance on car rentals when you use their cards to pay for the rental. You may find that your own automobile insurance policy covers rental cars as well. But if you have to purchase it separately, you will find that prices vary.
Photo radar is used throughout Western Canada. Photos are taken at the time of the traffic violation. The driver will not be notified at the time of violation; instead, a notice is sent through the mail to the registered owner of the vehicle. The renter is considered to be responsible for all traffic violations incurred during the rental. When the rental firm receives the photo radar ticket, the fine will be billed to the credit card used to pay for the car rental.
If you will be driving in Calgary and/or the Canadian Rockies in the summer and autumn months, you do not need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. If you will be driving in the area in winter, you should have a front-wheel-drive vehicle at a minimum, ABS brakes, and snow tires. Although it is not essential, an all-wheel-drive vehicle is nice to have in winter. If you will be driving in winter, you would be well advised to read the Traveller Article "Canada: Winter Driving".