Currently there are approximately 550 taxicabs operating on the city streets of Vancouver. These cabs are run by four companies, Black Top, Yellow Cab, Vancouver Taxi and MacClures. The count does not include cabs from suburban cities such as Richmond, Burnaby and New West.
Recently, our asshat of a mayor Sam Sullivan urged BC’s Transportation Board to increase the number of cab licenses to 820 before the Olympics descend upon our fair city. What will this do to the profitability of the industry and the individual owner/operators? Do the Olympics justify a near 50% increase in our cab fleet? This is something our new mayor will have to decide.
First of all are there enough cabs in Vancouver? The Urban Dweller believes that we can definitely use a few more cabs on the road, as currently during peak hours the cab system is unable to handle the passenger load. For instance, just head on over to the cruise ship terminals at Canada Place and people are in line for hours sometimes just waiting for a cab. Not a great first impression for someone just stepping foot into Vancouver. What we need is a comprehensive solution, one that balances the needs of the city as well as the taxi industry.
Let’s assume that the recommendation goes through and we now have 820 cabs on the street. What about after the Olympics? Do we really need a 50% increase in Cabs roaming our city streets after 2010 Olympics? I don’t think so, I would suggest that the city should do what we did in 1986 for Expo and open up the city and allow cabs from the suburbs to operate. This will double the fleet and accommodate the onslaught of 2010 visitors and once they leave so can the suburban taxicabs.
From personal experiences I find that as long as you’re travelling within Vancouver city limits or within 15 minute proximity of downtown Vancouver you shouldn’t have trouble finding a cab within 5 to 10 minutes. Now on the other hand Mr. Skeets can’t get a cab if his life depended on it, but that is because he is a broke (obviously the boy can’t hustle worth $hit). Most cabbies once you engage in conversation are quite funny and possess an intimate knowledge of the city. So I suggest that next time try to chat it up with one of them, just don’t mention Sam Sullivan.
(photo courtesy of wikipedia)