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Should there be a cap on cab drivers?

Saturday, April 26, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

A new taxi business will start up in Sault Ste. Marie May 1 despite concerns from other local cab companies.

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Board approved the application from Cruz Cab Company owner Glen (Chuck) Lewis to operate his new business at Thursday’s Board meeting, with owners of other cab companies present.

Cruz Cab will start off with 15 vehicles.

Soo Yellow Cab owner Ric Waite and Butch Wilson of Union Cab said there are already enough cab drivers on the road in a competitive field, and suggested there should be a cap put on the number of cab drivers in Sault Ste. Marie like there is in other communities.

Sault Mayor Debbie Amaroso, a member of the Police Service Board, said a gathering of information for city staff and a possible review of the city by-law concerning a cap is something that could be looked at by council.

Board chair Ian MacKenzie said there was nothing, at the Board level, to stop granting Lewis approval to operate his new business, and that other concerns would have to be looked at by the city.

“I don’t mind competition, he (Lewis) can put as many cars on the road as he wants but there’s only so many people in this city that take taxis and they all want them at the same time or they don’t want them at all,” Waite said.

“For sure there should be a cap,” Waite said.

Ray Dawson, a former cab driver in attendance Thursday, demanded that cab drivers be paid minimum wage, as opposed to being paid as independent contractors.

Drivers for Cruz Cab Company will be paid as independent contractors, which Lewis said results in more money for drivers, but Lewis told Dawson anyone preferring to be put on his payroll and paid minimum wage may do so.

Waite also had concerns as to whether liquor deliveries by Cruz Deliveries, another business Lewis owns, will remain separate from regular cab fares taken by Cruz Cab.

“We have many people who ask us to pick up alcohol for them and bring it to their house and we tell them we can’t, we’re not allowed to transport parcels of alcohol as a taxi company under the by-law,” Waite said.

“We have to pick them up, they purchase the alcohol and we take them home, and they have to pay for that, but a liquor delivery charge is five dollars.”

“Owning a delivery company and a taxi company…who gets dispatched to which call?” Waite said.

Lewis replied the duties of the two businesses he owns will remain separate.

Comments
51
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Joe Kidd 4/26/2014 8:18:23 AM Report

Of course the other two are going to complain. This is a good thing for the ppl of the sault. Ive heard of ppl waiting two hrs for a cab.
Hounds Fan 4/26/2014 8:21:03 AM Report

I don't understand what the fuss is about. Cruz is basically replacing Checker so we're basically returning to status quo
j-slice 4/26/2014 8:29:54 AM Report

As recent as a week ago my wife and I were told on a Thursday afternoon that a wait of two plus hours was what we were looking at ! Welcome Cruz Taxi !!!!!!
Hounds Fan 4/26/2014 8:32:12 AM Report

I'll agree with the two recent posts. The loss of Checker sent this city into a nose dive in terms of the number of taxis on the road, thus sending ETAs way up to the stupid area (shouldn't have to wait 2 hours for a cab).

So lets welcome Checker's replacement :)
soowat 4/26/2014 8:33:14 AM Report

I think all cab drivers should wear a cap.
mellow 4/26/2014 8:39:18 AM Report

I do not rely on taxi services but realize the need. They get bids for school kids and then you can't get a cab in the day or am often. I know as I had a tow over a month ago and this was the case. We also have a needy group who choose not to drive or can't they need this. I am amazed at so many patient drivers dealing with kids and high stress issues. I hope the taxi employer treats them fairly. I also feel a taxi company specializing in school runs for special needs and seniors is needed. I don't think many people know about many of the dynamics that go on in the current business. I hope they get paid fair , trained well, have safe car seats and cars for those that need them. As for the average working citizen or car owner we may not need .. but when you do a wait is not acceptable.
mellow 4/26/2014 8:40:40 AM Report

Always a few useless comments good stuff..
Mr. Poster 4/26/2014 8:45:07 AM Report

It is good to see that competition in this city has not been stifled.
Brownman 4/26/2014 8:46:19 AM Report

i also agree all cab drivers should wear a sporty cap, and be full of boozy good cheer
sooperman 4/26/2014 8:58:14 AM Report

nice to see another big business open in ssm and not even given a David o hand out ..15 driving jobs plus a few dispatchers mr. Lewis should be commended by the city ...what has city hall, bryan Hayes and our #1favorite son David done aside from drive ppl out of town
Gater 4/26/2014 9:01:37 AM Report

Great. More service And competition
gmyruts 4/26/2014 9:28:33 AM Report

Yay! Im glad there is another cab company opening after checker closed. And i totally agree with the commentator mellow about how we need cab for school runs and or tons of groceries and or emergency situation. Thank god they are here this new bussiness .
AGE1978 4/26/2014 9:34:56 AM Report

I work in the hospitality industry where we are frequently calling cabs for guests to get to their locations, and even before checker went under there were long waits for cabs in the morning and this has since gotten much worse! We actually try to prepare guests the night before so we can put in time calls and then we are having cabs either not show up for these or show up very late, making these people very late! And as recent as last night some guests wanted to go to the Beer Festival and they ended up walking as it was a 30 plus minute wait for a cab!!

I Welcome Cruz Cabs and hope that they have vehicles that aren't pieced together as I've seen from other companies so people feel safe while travelling and would also welcome them to pop in to your local hotels to introduce yourself and pitch your services to them :D

Welcome and Good Luck Cruz Cabs!
TFinn 4/26/2014 9:46:33 AM Report

Don't think there should be a cap on “cabdrivers” ...however there should be a cap on “cab companies“. Cab companies can buy more vehicles and hire all the drivers they need ...don't need more cab companies per say to do that..!Just my opinion ..!
boilertyme 4/26/2014 9:56:48 AM Report

I agree they should wear a cap with their company logo and their name
tgirl 4/26/2014 10:10:28 AM Report

Is yellow cab the same company that owned the limo service? If so, after being stranded at the airport by this company, any new business venture in this field would be welcome.
lizzardskills 4/26/2014 10:11:59 AM Report

We desperately need another company. The wait times and errors by other cabs is horrendous. Union can't do runs in the morning or afternoons. Good luck getting them after 2 pm or if you work for 9 a.m. Their dispatcher is the most rude person I've ever talked to in my life! Yellow Cab is usually better for wait times but still your waiting 45 minutes to an hour. These companies are losing money because they don't have enough cars. We NEED another company!
northernmale 4/26/2014 10:27:09 AM Report

What the others hate is he will have new modern cabs , and that's who people will call first. Not the pieced together dented up other ones. Good luck cruzz
ThinkAgain 4/26/2014 10:32:41 AM Report

Hopefully you will see better customer service, and quicker response times. There is good money to make just poor management and rude staff but that's like the rest of the business in this city.
anapeg 4/26/2014 11:38:49 AM Report

Free enterprise is alive and well. If the market will not support the 3 then they will fall by the wayside. It is how free enterprise works. More choice is always well received by the public.
Verytangy 4/26/2014 11:41:04 AM Report

Funny how the other 2 companies didn't complain when they started up...hmmm
Entity 4/26/2014 11:42:00 AM Report

It's important to stifle the free market. When it is not stifled, consumers see more options and competitive pricing. This can cut into the bottom line of established businesses, because those businesses are reluctant to revise their business model to better suit the needs of the market.

My friends: Do not fear. Our uber talented elected officials have a long and decorated past of squashing potential business ventures that would be of benefit to our city, its residents, and our economy.
FutureCPA 4/26/2014 11:55:52 AM Report

Every bar owner in town should be happy that there is going to be another alternative. I no longer live in the Sault but when I do visit I have noticed the nightlife has dropped off dramatically. I would say that this can be partially attributed to the lack of fair and timely taxi services.

And as for the daytime service that cabs provide I am very impartial as there are other low cost providers of transportation, ie. Buses. They run every hour and provide a great service to those who need it.

I think that the coty should be most concerned with keeping people off the road after they have had one too many and don't want to wait for an hour for a cab to get home safely.

I could careless either way but YAY for competition in the market place.
roxxyroller 4/26/2014 12:00:00 PM Report

I say yaye to a new cab company! Just a few weeks ago I was told that there would be a 1.5 hour wait and luckily a friend came and picked me up since I was intoxicated. There are a lot of drinking establishments in this city and people need responsible drivers to pick them up and drive them home safely. More cabs are more than welcome here as far as I am concerned. Who enjoys waiting an hour and a half for a cab! I was seriously contemplating walking home that night rather than sitting and waiting all that time! Glad I decided against it, who knows what would have happened at 2:30 am walking home alone!
Brianne 4/26/2014 12:17:00 PM Report

This will be awesome, no more waits ! I had a doctors appt that was very important yesterday for 9 am. I called at 8:10 for a cab and was told that there isn't any cabs available until after 9 am and that there was probably about 8 people ahead of me. ( due to school runs).I was told the same thing from the other cab company.

Therefore, I missed my appt, and will get billed for missing it :(

We need this service badly, and hopefully this new company will pick up in the morning and afternoon all the people that need cabs to get to work and appt's instead of doing the school runs !
frnlak 4/26/2014 12:24:42 PM Report

I aiso prefer NOT to walk the streets of Sault Ste Marie alone at night for obvious reasons. I also believe that if the people in power were truely concerned about public safety and impaired drivers, they would entertain the thought of allowing neighbourhood bars.
rebecca7 4/26/2014 12:32:02 PM Report

As a bartender I would love to see more competition within the city's cab services.
I call cabs for patrons anywhere from 5 to 20 times nightly on any given day. Recently with only 2 companies running the city, there has been a minimal of a half hour wait on the slowest of days. It takes least then 20 mins to drive clear across this city even in rush hour. Patrons are getting tired of waiting or having to call they're cabs an hour before they need to be somewhere.
What's more is that dispatchers are put in a position to estimate wait times and are constantly wrong or off enough that patrons get aggravated and they take it out on the drivers. Of course there are times when it's the drivers taking they're sweet old time and then it's the dispatchers that have to deal with irate patrons.
Either way with a little more competition couldn't hurt. Sometimes a little competition brings out the fire in people and maybe one or more cab companies will see a little more drive and ambition in they're drivers thus creating better business.
rebecca7 4/26/2014 12:36:43 PM Report

As a bartender I would love to see more competition within the city's cab services.
I call cabs for patrons anywhere from 5 to 20 times nightly on any given day. Recently with only 2 companies running the city, there has been a minimal of a half hour wait on the slowest of days. It takes least then 20 mins to drive clear across this city even in rush hour. Patrons are getting tired of waiting or having to call they're cabs an hour before they need to be somewhere.
What's more is that dispatchers are put in a position to estimate wait times and are constantly wrong or off enough that patrons get aggravated and they take it out on the drivers. Of course there are times when it's the drivers taking they're sweet old time and then it's the dispatchers that have to deal with irate patrons.
Either way with a little more competition couldn't hurt. Sometimes a little competition brings out the fire in people and maybe one or more cab companies will see a little more drive and ambition in they're drivers thus creating better business.
Right Winger 4/26/2014 12:42:35 PM Report

First off, as a business owner you would be stupid not to fight increased competition.

But the government can't step in to help them by stopping it.

That being said what the city needs to do is limit the taxi's that go over the river. We get screwed on weekends trying to get a cab at closing. They help drive business over the river because its easier to get home without drinking and driving
Eagles Fan. 4/26/2014 12:45:13 PM Report

What you people aren't realizing is, if this new cab companies drivers all decide they want to be paid minimum wage (which he states is their option) do you people really think he will have 15 cabs on the road at one time while paying his drivers to sit around and wait for a fare???

jakthree 4/26/2014 12:45:31 PM Report

We called a cab company the other night and were told that the cab drivers did not want to come to our location. We were on Queen St E. We had to call the other cab company which still took two hours to show up. How can these owners state that there is enough cabs when you are not giving adequate service now.
Legend01 4/26/2014 1:32:11 PM Report

First off Lizardskills your're hilarious. Rudest person why because you cant get something right when you want it. You sound like a lot of entitled people in this city who throw a fit when things dont go their way.
They are busy during that time and dont have a car available. Find another means of transportation.

Secondly Checker cab closed without warning for either of these two companies to be able to put any more cabs on the road. The fact that they have have been able to handle the increase without extra cabs is kudos to them. Magically putting 15 cars on the road does not solve a job problem if their is not enough business to sustain them. The companies involved were simply stating concerns. Given that they are actually both running taxi companies and neither Cruz nor anyone here is running a taxi company I think they would know better then anyone here.
jessiecat 4/26/2014 2:07:15 PM Report

flat rates would be nice ,
ShawnM 4/26/2014 3:42:36 PM Report

I think all the cab companies should be forced to have their drivers attend defensive driving courses, and to probably redo it every say 5 years. There are a lot of poor cab drivers that race around this town, make illegal turns...

My surprise though with all these cab companies in town and how tight margins seem to be, is that none of them have tried to reduce their fleets fuel costs by going to fuel efficient vehicles, like hybrids or diesels.
Frio 4/26/2014 3:43:33 PM Report

Maybe the bar owners would be smart enough to make arrangements with a cab company with mini vans to be available to take their wobbly patrons home at closing time as a service. A retainer fee paid by the bar owner to the cab company for preferred service would allow their customers to get home safely and reduce wait times.
Mr. Poster 4/26/2014 4:01:06 PM Report

It is faster and cheaper to appoint a designated driver for the evening.
Just Curious 4/26/2014 4:46:59 PM Report

Having been a cab driver in the Soo, and I might add one of the best jobs I ever had 'cause I like bouncing off people, There is more than enough room for a 3rd company in town.. Checker failed due to greed and poor management, and for no other reason. I worked for Eazy Cab for 2 years and our motto was no lying to customers. If we were busy and it was gonna be an hour you were told that, like it or not. I had to call a cab last night at 3:30 in the morning and one cab company said 20 minutes.. I waited an hour and called the other option and they said right now and by the time I hung up and got my shoes on the right feet they were at the door. From my own experience as a driver there is no reason for a delay at that time of night. When I got home the cab company that was too busy to come get me had most of their fleet parked in the yard , which is just across the street from me.. Yes, their dispatcher is rude, at least one of them is. And I also believe every cab driver should have to wear a uniform of sorts as we did with Eazy cab. It gives you a sense of pride in your job. If Ted had not have had health problems Eazy would still be going and providing the best service in the Soo..
good4now 4/26/2014 5:04:22 PM Report

MAYBE THIS IS TOO MANY ??

According to this article in Sault Star there are currently 16 "ordinary" taxis
currently licensed. Cruz intends to virtually double that to 31. And he obviously expects drivers to be idle for much of the time as they will NOT be employees, but independent contractors.

The end result of this will be that the taxi industry will be staffed by only the most desperate and perhaps least desirable people available. I expect many of the present dedicated drivers to call it a day when pay plummets.

from: http://www.saultstar.com/2014/04/25/cruz-cabs-hit-the-road

...There's a total of 64 licences in the city, says Cont. Henry Jin of Sault Ste. Marie Police Service...

Of those, 31 are for taxis including the 15 licences approved for Cruz. The remaining 31 (sic) are for other vehicles such as limousines and disabled transportation.

...Lewis (Cruz) plans to hire his drivers as independent contractors, not employees...
SooBuddy 4/26/2014 5:05:43 PM Report

ShawnM has a good point.
A couple of weeks ago I was teaching my son to drive, as a beginner he follows the speed limit which is good and more people should follow that example.
Anyways the polite fellow driving the SYC decided my son was going too slow, and while he was trying to turn left (signal Light on) the fine fellow from SYC decided he own the road and passed us while we were turning. needless to say this made my son feel like he did something wrong. I now have a camera in my car for when this happens again (and it will). So as for them complaining about another Cab Company opening, too bad. Competition is needed and required just hope they have better drivers than what is out there now.
canadiens_8 4/26/2014 7:17:15 PM Report

All this means is 15 more bad drivers on our city streets. Union Cab especially have bad drivers.
IB-fine 4/26/2014 8:11:26 PM Report

To the people that thought "putting a cap" on the drivers, literally meant drivers getting a uniform and cap... you crack me up! Did you READ the story???
Yes I remember when they all had to wear caps with their badges that had their license number on, but I believe that was a number of decades ago! LOL
The "cap" they are referring to is how many taxi companies and drivers there should be in town!

Of course there is more room for more cab drivers especially with the closing of Checker. And hour or 2 wait in a city this size is ridiculous, especially in the mornings and at the end of the school day when many cars are driving kids to and from school.
But the companies getting away with paying drivers by calling them independent contractors or only paying minimum wage is really sad! For the patience, skill and often physical work, taking in groceries, luggage etc. it requires to be a cab driver plus getting their upgraded license and paying for the city license to be a driver then what about compensation if they are in an accident or robbed? they need to be paid a living wage, and not hope for tips to help support their income.
I'm sure increased rates companies charge the money doesn't all go to the driver! How are they to support themselves with driving alone? No wonder many have other jobs.
dadal 4/26/2014 10:10:57 PM Report

This is just so typical of this city!

Remember when Beatrice Dairy fought to stop Mike's Mart ( now Macs ) from selling their own milk, stating it would hurt " local" business? Then fought to discredit and stop Lock City?

How about Algoma Steel fighting to keep Toyota from opening a plant here cause they would take away skilled workers?

How about Station Mall screaming how Wal Mart would close the mall down???

We've heard this non progressive way of thinking for years. No one here wants competition. This city has the space for more cabs, the remaining two don't want to have competition.

This city wants growth. This city wants retail variety ( Giant Tiger, Cabela's, Keg, etc) but they won't come because of the Soo's reputation of NOT wanting to progress UNLESS existing local business can profit from it. Well the world doesn't work that way.

IF and I mean IF the city can't support a cab company to take the place of the one that JUST closed, then either the new company or an existing one will go poof. Let " natural selection" take its course.

Worse thing that will happen is the current companies will HAVE to clean up their act and provide the service we deserve, not what they want to offer as they line their pockets!
Pakadeva 4/27/2014 1:44:34 AM Report

Welcome to Cruz Cabs!!!! I reading these remarks, if people wait up to 3 hours for a cab, there is an obvious & desperate need for more. I only use a cab when/if having car services done & sometimes the wait has been long.
Welcome also to Home and Health Mobility service, who cater mostly to the disabled, allowing them a more pleasant & fulfilling lifestyle. These companies are simply responding to the needs in this city. Smart thinking!
Pakadeva 4/27/2014 1:44:34 AM Report

Welcome to Cruz Cabs!!!! I reading these remarks, if people wait up to 3 hours for a cab, there is an obvious & desperate need for more. I only use a cab when/if having car services done & sometimes the wait has been long.
Welcome also to Home and Health Mobility service, who cater mostly to the disabled, allowing them a more pleasant & fulfilling lifestyle. These companies are simply responding to the needs in this city. Smart thinking!
asp 4/27/2014 8:28:37 AM Report

Everyone should have the chance to own and operate companie in the Soo. I remember when some guys opened up a strip joint and the hard time they got from the city and the other strip club owner (I guess he had the council in his pockets). Companie are so afraid of competition, that's life, so get over it. It's all a part of life.
soowat 4/27/2014 8:41:07 AM Report

IB-fine

The fact that my wearing a cap comment was "tongue in cheek" obviously was beyond your comprehension is sad.
rcssm69 4/27/2014 9:18:46 AM Report

No kidding soowat!!! Some people just don't appreciate the levity posted on these comments!!!
raeann.childs 4/27/2014 11:20:15 AM Report

maybe no one will have to wait until the school runs are done, the cab companies here are pretty much TAKEN UP between eight am and nine am, and also from three pm till four thirty, they are allll busy, i had to go to the delta for landlord tenant court and was either going at seven thirty or waiting till after nine to get to my nine o'clock appointment....i hope this new company realizes that we ARE in need of taxis in our little town, if even just for these hours, especially n a welfare payday, odsp payday, and the old age pension paydays are alllll really hard to get a taxi to bring your ood home also, i support this new cab iodea....
raeann.childs 4/27/2014 11:32:28 AM Report

i agree with dadal, just read it, this city HATES competition, why is that??? why cant people without family in the city council and without ties to the prominent ones get ahead??? if they aren't big wig related and big wig supporters, they get NOWHERE
im glad at least ONE of my family members made it to the top, she had a hard go of it at first, but she seems to be keeping her head above board which is more than i can say for myself....

check out billieburke.ca at dominion lending!!!

;)
Stevie-E 4/28/2014 8:36:58 AM Report

It's great to see new businesses popping up in town. That is great for the local economy so I don't know what the fuss is about!

Also, for those concerned about wait times after "last call" you can use a service called Driverseat to get you and your car home so you don't have to get it the next day. I used it a couple weeks back.

It was a bit more than a taxi but I slept better knowing that I didn't have to wake up and potentially still be too drunk to drive anywhere...and a lot cheaper than losing my license and having increased insurance costs!
Wobbler 4/28/2014 4:55:10 PM Report

I take cabs fairly often and my usual cab company is Union. I have always had good service from them. I always get a phone call to tell me that my cab is at my place or on its way. When I call for a cab and it will be a while, I am told that. I would rather them be honest about the time it will take, than be lied to and have to wait and wait and wait. If you feel the cab will be too long you then have the option to call another company. As for rude drivers or dispatchers, I have never encountered any. But I imagine if a driver or dispatcher was treated rudely, yelled at or sworn at, then they probably have a legitimate reason to be upset; especially if it is late night and the fares are mostly bar patrons.
One perk that the divers give to their riders is to not turn the meter on until they reach the road if you live at an apartment or are being picked up at a store or other business. Other companies that I have used in the past usually turned the meter on as soon as they were pulled away.
If you find that people are rude to you, then maybe you should take notice of how you treated them in the first place. How do you know what is going on with cabs, drivers or dispatchers when you are not at the cab company premises to be privy to that information?
A lot of the time the type of service you get will depend on your attitude and the way you treat the service person. Treat them good and it will more than likely come back at you in a good way. Negative thinking and attitudes beget more negativity and positive thinking and attitudes make for a much better world around us!!!
Comments
51
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