Healthy competition can be good for the consumer.
With that mantra in tow, and the fact there is only one taxi licence and two cabs servicing Greater Trail’s 20,000-plus populace – city council agreed to support the bid for a second taxi licence and two more cabs to operate in the Trail area.
“Based on this submission it appears as though the area could use enhanced service,” noted Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff during Sept. 12 council. “Most concerning at this time is that a lack of competition would appear to be influencing the price, the cost to use the current service is escalating to a point where use may actually decline,” he added. “Ideally, there would be an appropriate economic balance that would result in an equilibrium supply and price point that works well for the consumer as well as for the supplier of the service.”
Back in July, Creston Cab Company (operating locally as Trail Taxi) notified the city that rates were increased “in order for the service to continue, and for the service to be economically viable.”
While the old rates were not listed in the correspondence, new rates included a $3.10 flag rate, trips up to 15 kilometres (km) $4.49 per km, $3.49 over 15 km and a waiting time of $46.50 per hour.
Based on the new rates provided by Creston Cab Company, an 11 kilometre trip from downtown Trail to the Trail Regional Airport would cost almost $53.00.
“In this respect, increasing supply, should have a downward influence on price and further may result in improvements to service as it operations to wait times and other factors.”
Though all of council was in favour, it’s early in the process – Cedar Taxi Ltd. is just beginning its application to the Passenger Transportation Board for two cabs to service Rossland to Fruitvale and all points between. Later, the city will again be asked for written input along with local businesses and regular users of the taxi service.
“Having a regional airport, large regional hospital, major metals processing facility and a large winter resort requires a taxi service which has both capacity and commitment to the community,” wrote Cedar Taxi owner Ian Thomas. “Further capacity and competition will ensure that basic business principles are adhered to, rates remain within reason and the existing unlicensed operations are displaced.”
The Passenger Transportation Board is an independent B.C. tribunal, whose primary responsibility is to make decisions on applications relating to the licensing of passenger directed vehicles like taxis, limousines, shuttle vans and inter-city buses.