The head of Calgary's Taxi Drivers Association says about 150 taxi licence holders are abandoning Associated Cab to drive under the banner of Delta Cab instead.
Rupinder Gill said the move is the culmination of an ongoing dispute between the drivers and the president of Associated Cab, Roger Richard.
Disgruntled drivers have staged three wildcat strikes in recent months, refusing to pick up fares at the Calgary International Airport, to complain about working conditions and to demand more flexibility regarding airport duty.
Most recently, striking drivers were also protesting the firing of two colleagues — one of whom was Gill — over earlier work stoppages.
On Monday, Richard sent a letter to Mayor Naheed Nenshi asking city council members to intervene. He requested emergency taxi licences be issued to get cars back on the road during the dispute.
Richard claimed some taxi drivers were being forbidden to pick up fares by the owners of the licences.
"Over the last 24 hours we have worked hard to accommodate the approximately 200 drivers who have lost their livelihoods; however, we are still short about 150 taxis to ensure these men and women are returned to work immediately," wrote Richard.
The request for emergency licences was declined.
The change in taxi service will not be immediately noticeable as the cabs will need to be repainted.
There are about 1,400 licences — also known as plates — in Calgary.
Associated Cab is one of the largest providers of taxi service in the city. The much smaller Delta Cab has been operating in Calgary since 1988.