Taxi looking to enter market participates in pre-hearing conference

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — This is the day the BC Passenger Transportation Board holds the pre-hearing telephone conference in connection with the application for a new metered 21 vehicle taxi-cab service in Fort St. John.

Originally set for Dec. 21the conference will include the applicant — the Grande Prairie based Yellow Cabs Taxi Franchise — and opponents, and it should set the stage for the now delayed public hearing next month.

Originally set for the first three days in February, it has now been rescheduled for the 24, 25, and 26 of that month at the Pomeroy Hotel at 113-08 Alaska Road.

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The Board is holding the hearing to determine whether or not there is a public need for the service proposed by Yellow Cabs, whether or not it is qualified and capable of providing that service, and whether or not the application would promote sound economic conditions in the passenger transportation industry in this province.

In an interview at the end of November, spokesperson Baljit Thundal confirmed the Grande Prairie franchise has about 80 per cent of the cab business in that city, despite about a half a dozen competitors.

She’s optimistic about the economic future of Fort St. John and believes it bodes well for an application for expanded service at this time.

Formed in 2004, the Passenger Transportation Board is an independent tribunal which consists of five part-time members, including chair — Don Zurowski — who assigns each application to a panel of one or more board members.

They annually receive from 150 to 225 applications relating to the licensing of passenger directed vehicles, and most of their decisions are based on written material.

In fact — in line from what we heard from Baljit — the board website confirms less than five per cent are set down for a public hearing.

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