Fort St. John taxi owner looking for support to expand his fleet

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The owner of a small Fort St. John taxi company is looking to get support from residents to expand his business.

Bernard Thompson has been operating his eponymous taxi service in the Energetic City for the past six years, when has was granted a license to operate a single taxi cab in the city and immediate surrounding area. Thompson says that prior to starting his own business, he worked as a driver for Teco Taxi, but decided to start his own business.

Thompson says that he has recently decided to look at expanding his business, though adding another taxi is more complex than simply buying and insuring a vehicle. The Passenger Transportation Board oversees all passenger transportation in the province, and any applicants wishing to expand their services need to demonstrate that there is an additional need for more service.

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“The Board promotes healthy competition but not destructive competition, and we have a process where we accept submissions. A competitor may make a submission and endeavour to show what their operating statistics are,” said Passenger Transportation Board Chair Jan Brooks. “In many of our decisions, we’re looking at the sound economics as a whole.”

Fort St. John and the surrounding area are currently served by a total 21 taxis including Thompson’s. The other 20 taxi licenses are held by Teco Taxi, Fort Cabs, and Energetic Taxi Cab, who according to Brooks are all corporately-related. According to an article in the Alaska Highway News, there were a total of 24 taxis operating in Fort St. John seven years ago, 23 of which were owned by Teco. Brooks said that Teco has since lost several licenses due to not operating the same number of taxis.

As a way to demonstrate a need in the community for more taxicab service, Thompson says that he’s asking residents to fill out and sign comment forms, as a sort of petition. He said that he’s been going door-to-door looking for signatures of support, and anyone wishing to support him in getting enough signatures can call Bernard Thompson’s Taxi Service at (250) 261-6733, or on his Facebook page.

With files from Alaska Highway News:

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