– Canada Line hurting Vancouver’s taxi business: cab executive

Vancouver Sun

Amrik Mahal, president of Black Top & Checker Cabs, said business has dropped 10 to 15 per cent since the Canada Line, the rapid transit line that runs from downtown Vancouver to Vancouver International Airport and Richmond, began operation on Aug. 17. Within certain areas of Vancouver, that percentage is even higher.

“Taxi drivers need three to four big trips a day, like Vancouver to the airport, to make any reasonable money for the day,” Mahal, who is also a driver, said Thursday. “Yesterday, I didn’t have any.”

Mahal said to his knowledge, though, drivers aren’t quitting the industry.

“We have to plug along, because the RAV Line [the original name of the Canada Line] is here to stay,” he said. “We’re not against the RAV Line, it’s part of the transportation system that improves the city, and we have to work with it. What we have to do is make the taxi more attractive to people.”

He said the advantages of travelling by cab is that passengers travel alone, and get door-to-door service without having to lug suitcases to the nearest Canada Line station.

“We have to give good service,” Mahal said.

John Palis, managing administrator for Yellow Cabs, said the number of trips to and from the airport are definitely down, but he said all his information is anecdotal, and he has no figures on the decline in fares.

“The drivers notice a little bit of a hit,” Palis said. “The overall airport run numbers have declined in September from August, so we do see a difference, but I don’t have the September numbers yet.”

Ranjit Virk of Time Limousine Service said business is down by five to eight per cent, but he doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the Canada Line because his company relies on weddings and events, not general transportation.

“Taxi companies are more affected by this,” said Virk, who attributed the drop in his business to the flagging economy.

Vancouver Sun

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