The city’s plan to add 116 more taxis to Vancouver’s streets could destitute current drivers, who are already struggling for fares given the economic downturn, says one local cab company.
“Our business is down about 25 to 30 per cent,” Carolyn Bauer, general manager of Black Top and Checker Cabs, told Metro yesterday. “I’ve never seen it this bad.”
Bauer said she has signatures from more than 400 taxi drivers who oppose the city’s plan to expand the fleets by 116 cars, which she said was made before the economy turned bad.
She said it costs drivers about $120 per 12-hour shift to cover maintenance, fuel and licensing costs, and many of them are now making below minimum wage.
Dave Chami, a driver with Blacktop and Checker Cabs, said night drivers say they’re getting half as much business as usual.
“It could be frustrating to younger and novice drivers … but I know the reason (for the slow business) and can see that eventually things will turn around,” he said.
But George Higgins, a spokesperson for MacLure’s Cabs, said that company and Vancouver Taxi have put in a request with the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) for 30 more vehicles each.
“MacLure’s believes there is a market for 30 more taxi licences,” he said. “Almost any person you’d talk to on the street would say they’d appreciate more.”
Coun. Suzanne Anton said the decision, which will be made in the spring, is up to the city.