John Foglia is contemplating  closing up his taxi business.

John Foglia is contemplating closing up his taxi business.

Meter running on future of Trail taxi service

Champion Cabs ponder fate as business continues to lose money

The last taxicab in Trail could be pulled off the road this month and 14 jobs are on the line as Champion Cabs prepares to close its doors by the end of January.

Citing rising costs and a provincially-mandated charge rate that is not keeping pace, the city’s only taxi cab company is losing money and will be closed if the province does not allow a higher rate, said the company’s owner, John Foglia.

He has emailed and faxed the Passenger Transportation Board in Victoria for a rate increase to allow Champion to keep cabs on the road, setting a deadline of Jan. 31 for a reply.

“I’ve tried to provide a service for our area, but it is no longer feasible for us to do so,” he said. “We tried what we could … but we are losing money at the current rate.”

Taxicabs are regulated by the province and are only allowed to charge as much as the government dictates.

The last rate increase Champion was allowed was two years ago when the province approved a 2.3 per cent increase to the non-base charge (base charge being $3.15) on the meter. The meter goes up by increments of 15 cents, based on time and mileage.

Foglia said with the rate the government requires them to charge, other associated costs — rising minimum wage, high gas prices, mushrooming insurance costs — have compounded to put him in the red to the tune of $22,000 over the last three months.

Trail Taxi began in the mid 1960s but when Foglia took over the company in 2000, he changed the name to Champion Cabs and later combined the service with Castlegar Taxi, which he bought six years ago.

He felt the two companies — and an answering service he established in conjunction with the taxi services — would support each other enough to survive as the lone cab company in their respective cities.

When he started he operated five cab licences in Trail and six in Castlegar. Now he has only three in each city, with one driver on for each night and day shift.

He said the call volumes weren’t enough to sustain the business, or more cabs. The calls would come in waves, six or seven per hour, and then nothing for several hours.

“People would complain ‘I can’t get a taxi in this town.’ Well, the reason is there wasn’t enough to keep two drivers on,” he said.

Even with more business, however, the high costs to operate would have kept the operation losing money, Foglia explained. The rate needed to rise.

Despite his dramatic decree to fold up shop and put nearly one dozen people out of work in Trail, Foglia was not optimistic he would garner a rate raise out of the province.

“I have a better chance of winning the lottery than I do in the government telling me I can raise the rate,” he said.

But finances are requiring the move to close. Foglia felt some remorse for the people who truly needed the service because they couldn’t afford anything else. He thanked the many patrons of the company — as well as many of his staff members — for their business and friendship throughout the years he operated the company.

 

Just Posted

“The Spirit of Family” enhances the Beaver Valley both in the daytime and at night. Photo: Submitted
Family sculpture installed at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall

Locals are encouraged to swing by Fruitvale Memorial Hall to take a… Continue reading

In 1927, swimmers enjoyed a day in the water at the CGIT and CSET Camp in Summerland. While none of the people in this photograph have smart phones, there is some debate about whether a beach image from the United Kingdom in 1943 shows a man using a smart phone. (Photograph courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
COLUMN: The mystery of the time-travelling tourist

Was the man in a 1943 photograph checking his smart phone?

Daryl Jolly, his wife Kerry Pagdin, their sons Cole Jolly (left) and Graeme Jolly, and their dogs Gracie and Clover. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College arts chair diagnosed with lung cancer, family launches fund drive

Daryl Jolly co-founded the college’s digital arts program

The flotation line at Gyro Park beach in East Trail, shown here during low water, is for emergency purposes only and does not delineate a safe swimming area. Photo: Trail Times file
City of Trail cautions beach users

Gyro Park beach questions should be directed to the roads superintendent at 250.364.0817.

Presently in Canada, it is illegal to be in possession of a personal stun gun. Use of this tool is only licensed to federal and provincial police officers. The personal use of stun guns by unlicensed civilians is considered to be illegal and considered under the Canadian Criminal Code to be the equivalent of a weapon. Anyone found importing or in possession of a personal stun gun and is not a licensed law enforcement officer can be prosecuted under the Canadian Criminal Code. Photo: BC RCMP
Trail man faces weapons charge after police confiscate stun gun

The incident took place on Sunday near downtown Trail

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Most Read