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Cabbies tell Vancouver Don?t Give More Licenses
( Mar 19 2009 )

Observer News Service


Taxi drivers, majority of them being Indo-Canadian, have been hit hard by the recession with paid fares dwindling. So it was no surprise that they asked the city of Vancouver not to hand out more taxi licenses despite the city having the lowest number of cabs per capita in the country.

A recommendation had been made to hand out 122 new taxi licenses but various taxi company representatives met with the city to put a stop to the proposal. Those opposing the new licenses included Vancouver taxi driver Amandeep Singh Garcha, who said  that it’s not the right time given the recession which has led to a drastic decline of his income.

"Four in the morning to four in the evening, not even minimum wage," Garcha said.

If Vancouver city council goes ahead with a plan to add the new taxis, he says the "average income of cab drivers in downtown will reduce another 15 to 20 per cent."

City licensing staff recommended the extra taxi licenses last fall, but council held off until the two sides could meet Tuesday.

Black Top manager Carolyn Bauer brought a petition to the meeting signed by 400 cab drivers from various companies.

But while Bauer insists the city has enough cabs, the tourism industry does not. There are 588 licenses in Vancouver -- about one for every 1,000 people. Toronto has nearly twice as many per capita.

But Garcha disagrees, saying many cabs are sitting idle because there isn’t much business.

On Tuesday, cabbies asked city licensing staff to change their advice to council, something they say they'll take into consideration.

The conditions have Garcha considering a new career.

"It's really hard to manage just having an income from cabs


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