New cab company promises service to Castlegar/Trail after both cities lose service providers
The ink is barely dry on a deal that will bring taxi service once more to Castlegar and Trail, after both cities’ taxi services were shut down as of Oct. 11.
Ken Parker, a dental rep out of Surrey, and his partner first entered the taxi business when they purchased the license to open Creston Cab Company in July of this year. When he heard, only recently, that both Castlegar and Trail were to be left without any cab service at all, it was a mad scramble to get the licensing and logistics in place to ensure a minimal gap in coverage for local residents.
“We submitted an ‘urgent public need’ request to the Passenger Transportation Branch,” he said, explaining it normally takes months to get clearance from this board. “We had two criteria: 1) There would otherwise be no service at all; and 2) Canada Post carriers had a contract to be moved around by that service, and they’d be left stranded.”
The expedited process means Parker now has his licenses in hand and one vehicle on the road in Castlegar, with another en route to Trail.
“The vehicle we have in service in Castlegar is a brand-new 2014 minivan that holds seven, so it can be used for larger groups, weddings, bar closures, etc.,” he said. “We have a temporary four-wheel drive GMC Jimmy for Trail, but we’ll be replacing that soon with a newer Forrester.”
The delay was for details like getting decaling on the vehicles, metres installed, proper plates and registration, etc. He said both will be well-equipped for ice, snow, mud and other Kootenay winter challenges, and we may see more than one vehicle, pun notwithstanding, down the road.
“We do long-term rides as well – to Vancouver, Kelowna, Cranbrook, etc. Most people don’t realize that’s an option,” he said. “If the volume is there, we’ll certainly bring in as many vehicles per city as demand warrants.”
Castlegar riders should be comfortable with the new staff as well, since both drivers who worked for Castlegar Taxi up until last week have now signed on with Parker and Creston Cab Company.
“For right now, we’re just putting the word, ‘TAXI’ on the sides of the vehicles, along with the appropriate phone number, and keeping the name Creston Cab, Castlegar Division, Trail Division and Creston Division,” Ken explained.
He said the Castlegar van on the ground right now is servicing regular customers and Canada Post using the driver’s personal cell phone, but the company number will be 250-687-0133, and should be functional within about a week.
The Trail phone number, which should be operational within two weeks, will be 250-921-6291.