Taxi industry news
A Pacific Cab seen downtown Langley Tuesday, May 19. It’s one of 10 that can be found around the whole of Langley, at any given time during the pandemic. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

With more taxi drivers staying home, wait times have increased for local passengers

British Columbia, Canada – There’s a taxi company that services Aldergrove, a community on the eastern edge of Langley Township, throughout the year.

It’s called Langley-Aldergrove Taxi, but because of COVID-19 it’s been unable to offer people in Aldergrove cab rides.

That’s because the pandemic has shuttered retail businesses and decimated typical reasons for taxi calls, such as a one-way trip to catch a flight at the airport or a safe ride home from a local pub or restaurant.

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The number of Langley-Aldergrove Taxi drivers working to cover trips in the remainder of Langley is down to four, according to a driver who wishes to remain anonymous.

He said they’re planning to add five more cab drivers to their operating roster come June 1.

“It’s really dependent upon businesses reopening” and people having places to go, the cabbie added.

For now, many of its drivers are out of work for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, Pacific Cabs – a larger cab company that services the whole of Surrey, White Rock, Cloverdale, and Langley – is able to pick-up Aldergrove residents in need of a ride.

At any given point, around 10 Pacific Cabs can be found working in Langley, according to acting manager Cheri Gilmore.

But that number has “dropped significantly,” from 92 taxis on shift throughout their sprawling area of coverage, to just 32 on an average day, she said.

Cabbies have been given the option to continue working, or to stay home amid the pandemic. And many have chosen the latter. Those drivers currently remain out of work, she confirmed.

Langley-Aldergrove Taxi did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Wait times climb for passengers

Another unintended result of cab drivers staying home and less taxis on Langley roads – longer wait times for those in need of a ride.

“It all depends on the day,” Gilmore explained.

“We’re doing the best we can. Some days there’s a considerable amount of cars to one rider. Other days, it’s a struggle.”

Ride-hailing swipe business from Langley taxis

Langley cab drivers – many whom are currently out of work – are still coming back from taking a hit when ride-hailing services were introduced just a few months ago in Langley (March 2) up to 40 Avenue and 232 Street.

With competitive pricing and the ability to track your driver’s arrival time, many riders have been opting out of traditional taxi use.

In response to COVID, Both Lyft and Uber – competitors in the emerging Metro Vancouver ride-hailing market – have suspended shared rides; where two strangers share one car and conveniently the cost of travelling to their varying destinations.

As of Monday, a new Real-Time ID technology is requiring Uber drivers to verify that they are wearing a mask – by uploading a selfie – before being let on the app to work.

“We will maintain this policy through the end of June, and then reassess based on local public health needs,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on May 13.

Lyft has made no such advancement but sent free hand sanitizer and masks to drivers upon their request.

Aldergrove is still in wait of ride-hailing services, solely dependant upon taxi service for those needing a ride.

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– Source: Sarah Grochowski – aldergrovestar.com

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