Vancouver’s taxi shortage became much more apparent this morning when a line for a taxi at Canada Place grew to about 600 feet in length.
Hundreds of passengers that disembarked from one of three vessels berthed at the pier were waiting patiently for a taxi. Just before 11 a.m., a line stretched outside along the pier’s promenade from a temporary taxi stand set-up at Canada Place Way to just outside the doors of the convention centre’s Exhibition Hall A.
One man from Wisconsin near the front of the line told Vancity Buzz he had been waiting for approximately an hour and a half and that he had never been in such a long line for a taxi in any city.
This was happening even as taxis were arriving at the Canada Place underground taxi loop every few seconds to drop off passengers boarding a cruise ship today. The Port of Vancouver issued an advisory earlier this week warning of congestion and advising passengers to plan ahead and use public transit.
“On days like today, the port authority works very closely with the Vancouver taxi managers and the City of Vancouver,” Carmen Ortega, Manager of Cruise Services and Canada Place Operations, in a statement to Vancity Buzz. “Advisories were issued in advance to let passengers know that there will be an unusual high demand for taxis due to the high volumes of passengers.”
Throughout the day, the Port of Vancouver anticipates 13,300 passengers will embark and disembark a cruise ship at Canada Place. The three vessels will be leaving Vancouver early this evening at approximately 5 p.m. to start new voyages with new passengers.
For years, it has been well known that there is an insufficient number of taxis to serve everyday needs in Vancouver never mind unusual surges from the city’s growing tourism industry.
Across the Metro Vancouver region, there are about 1,500 taxis including close to 600 taxis within the city of Vancouver where the demand is highest.
A 2014 Simon Fraser University study found that Vancouverites have the hardest time getting a taxi with just 0.64 taxies for every 1,000 regional residents. This ratio falls much lower when boundary rules for where taxi companies can operate are factored in.
In contrast, there are 1.17 taxis per 1,000 persons in Toronto, 1.34 in Montreal, 1.24 in Ottawa, and 1.37 in Calgary.
Of course, there has been a growing call to allow Uber to operate in the city to make up for the taxi supply shortage, but this has been challenged by taxi companies, local municipal governments, and the provincial government.
Time lapse video of the line-up for a taxi at Canada Place this morning:
Wedged between 3 floating cities. #CanadaPlace #Vancouver #cruiseships A photo posted by Ken Chan (@vancityinsider) on