Downtown pick-up areas not going over well with taxi companies

'The quicker they can pick up a fare, the more money they make'

MICHELE YOUNG / Kamloops Daily News
December 10, 2012 01:00 AM

Efforts to get the two cab companies in town to use designated taxi stands and pick-up areas are failing.

City community safety and enforcement manager Jon Wilson said Monday the companies are still not on board with using those areas because they'd have to line up for customers.

Instead, some of them are getting hailed even before arriving at the designated areas and are picking up fares that way or elsewhere, he told the co-ordinated enforcement task force.

The problem is, time is money in the taxi business and they can't afford to be idling when there are customers waiting a short distance away, Wilson explained.

"The quicker they can pick up a fare, the more money they make," he said.

As a result, he's looking at other cities and what they do to ensure people get home safely when they've been out for an evening.

Mayor Peter Milobar pointed out that in Las Vegas, cabs aren't allowed to pick up customers off the street. Fares have to be at a hotel or a street address.

The City put out a call for possible pilot projects that would ease the "bar flush" congestion downtown. The two companies expressed some interest, but no formal proposals were ever submitted.

Wilson said the City provided the companies with support letters after being advised they were seeking more licences from Victoria.

But he had heard they might not follow through with those applications.

Not so, said Satinder Mann, general manager for Kami Cabs.

In fact, Kami and Yellow Cabs have agreed to work together, promising not to oppose each others' applications.

"We do need some more cabs in town. Especially for the weekends. We have 26 cabs in the company. And on the weekend, we are all out," he said.

The two are also working together to provide weekend shuttle bus service from the downtown entertainment area to Westsyde, Tranquille/Brocklehurst, Sahali and Thompson Rivers University, he said.

"We're just in the middle of doing it," he said, expecting the shuttles should be on the road in a few weeks.


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