Monday, February 8, 2010

This Curiosity Just Arrived

For Immediate Release

February 8, 2010

Vancouver Taxi business “dead” just days before Olympics
Drivers unsure of how they will survive the next 2 months

Vancouver, BC – A combination of factors associated with the Winter Olympic Games have resulted in the slowest period for the taxi industry in the past 15 years, says Amrik Mahil, President of Black Top and Checker Cabs.

“I have never seen it like this, and I am very worried about the lingering effects from two months of this kind of business climate” said Mahil. “While everyone thought that we would have too few cabs for the Olympics, the reality of the situation in this final week before the Games tells a vastly different story.”

There are dozens of temporary licenses that have been issued for the duration of the Games. Taxi operators in the GVRD who cannot usually operate within the City of Vancouver are now able to deploy up to 35% of their fleet to pick up passengers at Olympic sites or anywhere else in the city. The Olympic transportation plan and associated road closures make using taxis within the city to get to and from Olympic events very inconvenient (no right lane stopping, meaning the amount of cab stands is severely reduced during the Games). Finally, the economy is still soft, making cab fares an expense that many individuals and companies have cut back on.

With fixed costs ranging between 80-$120 per shift, many cab drivers are having trouble breaking even. In fact, many drivers are now contemplating a departure from the industry because of an inability to make ends meet.

The long-term health of the taxi industry in Vancouver is now at risk, according to Mahil.

“We would not be able to withstand a mass exodus of drivers from our company, and yet we cannot even guarantee these individuals a consistent income over the coming months” said Mahil. “VANOC and the Passenger Transportation Board have grossly overestimated the need for taxis during the Games, and now we are all paying the price.”

Black Top is Vancouver’s second largest taxi company with 197 vehicles and over 50 years of service within the city.
Media contact:
Amrik Mahil
President – Black Top and Checker Cabs
(604) 614-3777


diverdarren said...

I just finished listening to the cab companies boo-hoo about the restrictions on CKNW. They have known for months they are not and never were part of the the transportation plan, and what type of restrictions they faced. Now they try to use the Fairmont medical building at 750 W Broadway and the need for seniors to get there as the cabbies rally cry. It's BS like the rest of the cabbies claims. There is a taxi zone and a passenger zone around the corner at 2500 Willow. There are plenty of taxi zones around the venues and its time cabbies and their fares start using the zones they're supposed to use. I'm tried of taxis thinking they can break the traffic laws and plug up the streets so they can make a buck at my expense. Why should I have to wait while they break some parking law and obstruct travel lanes and bus stops for their profit.

Gavin said...

It's very sad that the taxi industry was treated like an unloved second class citizen by VANOC and the powers that be instead of being treated as an alternate form of public transit and given the privileges granted to busses, Olympic transit vehicles and such. This would have never happened in New York, London Montreal or Toronto. To "diverdarren" how would you like it if your aged and infirm mom had to walk a block or so away from the front of a medical building where taxis are barred from stopping to pick up to a stand where a cab may or may not be sitting? The condescending and provincial attitude toward the taxi industry has been appalling. Not all taxi drivers are perfect but the majority are simply small business people in the service industry trying to make a living and support their families. Plus don't forget that the industry is very highly regulated by rules and regs not only for the vehicles but for the drivers as well.

Anonymous said...

David, Ive been involved in transportation since 1973. In the mid eighties came deregulation. No form of tansport has made money since then. Airline after airline crumbled under competition.

CPT, Motorways,Alltrans,Time DC, Quick asair,Johnstons, Public and many more trucking companies gone.

The new model for trucking was the use of owner operators. The vast majority being Indo Canadians. (AS are the cab drivers) The typical situation is an ever expanding fleet of trucks fighting to do an ever shrinking amount of work. The way to get more work is to cut rates. In order to handle the work you hire more trucks. Its a death spiral and all of the people that use trucking companies are winners. Cheaper rates for your groceries, paper products etc. Sounds good but. In order to compete the only place a truck owner can cut costs is to skip maintenance. Or drive longer hours or drive faster inorder to move an extra load.

Think about it. Next time your on the freeway and a semi comes up behind you remember he gets paid by the load. NOT BY THE HOUR! So get the hell out of the way.

Until the government regulates every aspect of transportation all modes will suffer. Think about the mechanic working on your Boeing jetliner. You know that they have laid off his fellow workers and expect him to do more work in less time.

Saddly the goverments do not care. Cheaper is what its all about.

I heard an interview with a Federal minister in charge of imigration. He said that in Canada we have a huge shortage of unskilled workers. In the next breath he said yes we need thousands of truck drivers. Thanks a bunch asshole. Ive been doing that job for allmost 40 years and Im unskilled.


Anonymous said...

I heard that interview on 'NW, too, and was quite shocked by what I heard.

Apparently, the closest taxi stand to the Pacific Coliseum - for figure skating and short track speed skating - is 11 blocks away, at Pender and Templeton.