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Town of Marystown stifling taxi competition, prospective cab company owner claims

Taxi- 123RF
Taxi - 123RF - SaltWire File Photo

Waiting game

MARYSTOWN, N.L. —

Dave King believes Marystown residents should have a choice in the taxi industry, just as with any other.

He doesn’t see that as being the case at the present time, however. 

“Why would you sit on 10 licenses and hold the Town of Marystown hostage? That’s what they’re doing,” King claimed in a recent interview with The Southern Gazette, referring to the town council.

King, who for a time several years ago was a taxi broker with Radio Cabs in Marystown, was trying to offer another option, he says.

For two years, he has carried a sign around in the trunk of his car, he says, an artefact of a to-date unrealized business – King’s Cabs.

With the difficulties he’s encountered from the town, even if he was granted a permit, King says he isn’t so sure now that he would want to operate a taxi company locally anyways.

Town regulations

Under the Town of Marystown’s taxi regulations, population determines the maximum number of taxi licences available.

Presently, it’s 15 licenses. Five of those are currently with Marystown Taxi.

Dave King of Marystown says it’s unfair the Town of Marystown hasn’t freed up the 10 taxi licenses issued to Radio Cabs. The business was shut down last year. - Paul Herridge
Dave King of Marystown says it’s unfair the Town of Marystown hasn’t freed up the 10 taxi licenses issued to Radio Cabs. The business was shut down last year. - Paul Herridge

For years, Radio Cabs has held 10 licenses. Those are now in a state of limbo, however, apparently waiting for the company to be sold. The current owner, who bought the business a couple years ago, shut it down in 2018. According to the town, he’s trying to sell it himself.

Alje Mitchell, the Town of Marystown’s planning and development control director, has been in contact with the owner of Radio Cabs on a number of occasions about the matter, but not of late, he told The Southern Gazette recently.

His understanding is the owner had been entertaining offers, but the situation remains “up in the air,” he said.

Application deferred

King submitted his application to operate King’s Cabs and paid a $100 permit fee on May 24, 2017.

He received a letter from the town in June of that year indicating his application had been deferred, pending a review of the town’s taxi regulations.

King received a follow-up letter three months later stating the application was being delayed until public consultations could be held “with respect to changes in the town’s taxi regulations.”

King gave copies of those documents to The Southern Gazette.

Mitchell confirmed no public consultations have been held to date.

Not an illegal taxi

During a council meeting in January, protection to persons and property committee co-chairman Coun. Mike Brennan said there was no interest in issuing any new licences until the Radio Cab situation is resolved and also blamed illegal taxis as hurting business in the local taxi industry.

King said he believes he’s one of the people Brennan was talking about.

He acknowledged giving certain people he knows rides but claimed he doesn’t ask for money.

There are a lot of people on fixed incomes who can’t afford a costly taxi trip to the hospital in Burin, he says.

“I don’t think there’s any law in this world that I can look at you and say, ‘Mister, you can’t take anybody aboard your car,’” King said, adding he views it as helping people.

“If … some old person wants to go to the hospital in the middle of the day and I got nothing to do, certainly (he will do it).”

That’s not the point, he says.

Phone messages left for Mayor Sam Synard, Brennan, and protection to persons and property committee co-chairwoman Coun. Nora Tremblett were not returned by deadline for this story.

King says he’s not asking to be given anything by the town and just wanted to try to make a go at running a taxi business.

In his estimation, King thinks operating a 10-car taxi business in Marystown is too cost prohibitive, but a small operation with one or two could be viable.

The town waiting a prolonged period for someone to come along and buy Radio Cabs is not fair, he suggested.

“It’s just not sensible,” King said.


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