As the clock strikes midnight Saturday, local taxis will become a service of the past.
There’s no offer on the table from anyone interested in buying Castlegar Taxi or Champion Cabs says owner John Foglia, so that night, the local business is shutting its doors for good.
Six drivers will be looking for work, and the area’s elderly could be scrambling to find another way to make it to the grocery store or medical clinic.
“It’s sad that this is happening,” said Foglia. “Because I think we will all pay for the business closing. But it’s been five years of struggling before it finally came to this.”
Foglia maintains that the lack of support from local municipalities and the Passenger Transportation Board (the provincial regulating body for passenger directed vehicles) has left the Trail businessman no choice but to close both cab companies.
“Nobody wants to run a small business unless it’s feasible,” he said. “If you don’t have people behind you to run it, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone complains that the taxis are closing, but nobody wants to step forward to do anything about it.”
Over time, the taxi service cut back its 24/7 service by 50 per cent due to a decline in ridership and a lack of sufficient rate increases, explained Foglia.
“When I bought Trail Taxi out in 2000, they were about to go down,” Foglia recalled. “But it’s been frustrating and with no support from the government, this is a hard business to survive.”