Burlington Mayor’s office swamped with calls after closure of long-standing taxi company

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Published November 29, 2021 at 9:38 pm

After Burlington went through its first weekend without Burlington Taxi, the company that closed its doors for good after 53 years on Friday (November 26), it’s none-too-surprising that Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was inundated with panicked phone calls both over the weekend and today (November 29).

“My office has been receiving calls from residents in need of support for taxi services due to the closure of Burlington Taxi,” Meed Ward tweeted today.

“Please note Council and staff are working on a solution as quickly as we can to enable another provider, with a Special Council Meeting scheduled tomorrow (November 30).”

In the meantime, she suggested, Burlington Transit bus schedules can be accessed at 905-639-0550 or http://burlingtontransit.ca She added that transit is free for seniors at off-peak, weekday hours.

However, what the city can do at that meeting about the sudden taxi shortage is anyone’s guess.

Company owner Scott Wallace said it wasn’t Uber or Lyft that gutted his business. It was a lack of drivers and insurance rates that clobbered it.

When COVID-19 hit, he was forced to lay off drivers. He used to run a fleet of more than 50 cars on the road. Last year, that was down to five.

However, when the calls for service started to come back, he couldn’t find drivers. Most of his laid-off drivers had long since moved on to other things.

That leaves Burlington with one cab company, Gem Taxi, with a fleet of just four cars.

It now remains to be seen what plan Burlington city staff can create to fill the shortfall.

(Burlington Taxi picture from Twitter)

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