Vancouver’s taxi companies have banded together to establish an association of taxi owners, giving the local industry a united voice as it struggles to stay viable in a city full of bike lanes and public transit.

Black Top & Checker Cabs, Vancouver Taxi and MacLure’s Cabs have created the Association of Pacific Taxi Owners, and Yellow Cab may sign on soon, said Amrik Hamil, the president of Black Top & Checker Cabs.

He said the industry took a major blow when the Canada Line opened, and with a projected 30 per cent drop in cruise ship visitors and out-of-area companies “poaching” customers, cabbies are worried about making a living.

“With so many pressing concerns, it was essential for the companies to look at the bigger picture and come together for the sake of the long-term sustainability of the industry,” Hamil said.

“We felt it was important to (have) one voice and to have general consensus on issues,” he said. “The competition is ... immaterial. At the end of the day, our customers have to be looked after and we’re all in it together.”

The association will provide regular communication with stakeholders, the media and government officials through a monthly newsletter.

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