British Columbia

Vancouver taxi companies apply to put more cabs on roads to meet holiday demand

Vancouver taxi companies are trying to get more cabs on the roads by mid-December to meet increased demand from Christmas parties.

Needs approval from B.C. Passenger Transportation Safety Board

Kulwant Sahota says the Vancouver Taxi Association has applied to get 198 more cabs on Vancouver streets. (CBC)

Vancouver taxi companies are trying to get more cabs on the roads by mid-December to meet increased demand from Christmas parties.

It's not difficult to find complaints from people who live in the city or from visitors who say the wait to be picked up is too long.

"We have actually applied for 198 more taxis that gives us flexibility for when we need them," said Kulwant Sahota, president of Yellow Cab and spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association.

It wants more cabs during peak times and Kulwant says the hope is to get them before the Dec. 13/14 weekend, one of the busiest times of the year for taxi companies.

Vancouver city council says it has passed a motion that would allow cab companies to add extra taxis to their fleets for the holiday season. (CBC)

"The taxi system needs to up the ante," said Bob Rorison, a volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada. "There needs to be more taxis available."

Kulwant and the Vancouver Taxi Association is waiting on B.C.'s Passenger Transportation Board to respond to its application.

If approved, the association says the extra cars could be immediately added to the 700 already on the road.

The group is not the only one struggling to keep up with demand for rides. Operation Red Nose, which offers to drive you and your car home, is dealing with a shortage of volunteer drivers.

Chris Wilson with Operation Red Nose in B.C. says it's looking for more volunteer drivers to help with the service. (CBC)

"In Burnaby, New Westminster and the Tri-Cities area we gave a 175 rides this weekend which is on par from last year but the number of volunteers needs to get a little higher," said Chris Wilson Operation Red Nose. "Our concern is when people have to wait too long sometimes they will decide to drive home and we don't want that to happen."

In October, the Passenger Transportation Board turned down an application for 58 accessible taxis that some believed would alleviate hour-long waits for passengers with disabilities.

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