Passenger Transportation Board rejects drivers’ bid to add more weekend taxis

The Passenger Transportation Board last week rejected an application by the Pacific Coast Drivers’ Association, a new organization of taxi cab drivers, to add 83 weekend cabs to Vancouver streets. Still in place: the PTB’s earlier decision to allow a similar number of suburban cabs to pick up in Vancouver during peak periods.

Pacific Coast Co-op Taxi’s bid for 99 cabs and several individual applications were also rejected March 27, but the applications are a sign of the serious economic pressures hitting the taxi industry. Drivers say they are struggling to make ends meet and are frustrated by a licensing system that sees shares in taxi companies — each representing a cab — change hands for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

(The City of Vancouver had opposed any further increase in weekend licences until the impact of existing weekend permits held by Vancouver firms had been assessed.)

Despite constant media coverage of complaints of weekend shortages, owners and drivers are feeling the heat from a slow economy, competition from the Canada Line and now the dramatic expansion of one-way car rental services like Car2Go. The Vancouver Taxi Association, which represents the four Vancouver firms, has repeatedly offered to negotiate better protection for drivers, so far without result.

Now that the PTB has rejected their bid for licences, the drivers may have no option but to sit down with owners.