Some businesses in a northern B.C. town are impacted by the closure of the only local taxi service provider three months ago.
In May, Paddy Hirshfield and Patrick Hibbitts announced they would close Bulkley Valley Taxi because Smithers Market – roughly halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert, and home to just over 5,300 people – isn’t strong enough to keep them running.
That has left residents and visitors without taxis to and from the local airport, about 5.4 kilometers from downtown, a route that is not covered by BC Transit buses.
Daniela Bork, general manager of the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge downtown, says she has received cancellation requests from corporate clients who had booked business conferences for the fall.
“[They] canceled all of their events due to lack of transportation to and from the airport, but also transportation within the city,” Bork said, adding that many of them have decided to move their events to hotels in Terrace, about 200 kilometers west of Smither.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, Sunshine Inn general manager Sharon Eastabrook said the lack of taxi services “is a major issue” that the city has been unable to address.
Trever Morris, president of the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce, told CBC News he’s also heard of businesses affected by the lack of taxis.
Shortage of rental cars
Transportation issues are further complicated by the shortage of rental cars, according to Al McCreary, president of Tourism Smithers.
He said the shortage of supply means rental cars have to be booked weeks in advance.
He said Tourism Smithers had written to council about the lack of taxi services and was meeting with local councilors and businesses to discuss solutions, including expanding the community-run shuttle service which no longer serves now than the elderly.
“It’s important that they are aware and that we work closely with them,” he said on CBC. sunrise north.
The problem is not new to Smithers, however, according to Mayor Gladys Atrill.
She says the closure of Bulkley Valley Taxi “has left a void” in their transport services, but the market in the town is too small for taxi operators to sustain their business.
She says she has received the letter from Tourism Smithers, but there is no schedule yet for a city council meeting to discuss solutions.
In the meantime, she asks local residents to consider offering rides for travelers who need to get to or from the airport.
“It’s our combined reputation,” she said. “We all have to be in this game together.”
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