Halifax taxi industry unaffected by recent controversy, owners say


Published on March 14, 2017

AFP_7E97D

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Amid all the controversy surrounding Halifax’s taxi industry, the municipality’s two largest cab companies say business is unaffected.

Since former driver Bassam Al-Rawi was acquitted of a sexual assault charge earlier this month, public trust in the industry has been called into question, with some women on Twitter offering an alternative to cabs with the hashtag #HaliLadyCab.

Casino Taxi co-owner and systems manager Jason George said business has actually been up in the last two weeks compared to the same period last year. George said he’s heard from drivers saying it’s “slower in the nighttime,” but the numbers don’t reflect that perception. And Yellow Cab CEO Justin Ghosn said there’s been no noticeable dip in his business in the last two weeks.

“I think the taxi industry is very disappointed right now,” Ghosn said. “What happened and what’s ongoing doesn’t reflect what the taxi industry is. The drivers are equally as upset as the public and everybody’s very disappointed.”

Ghosn said Yellow Cab is installing GPS technology in its cars so it can track all of its drivers in real time, and he said the company is taking “everything that happened” into consideration in its annual reviews “to ensure that our drivers know the standard is high as ever, and the standard to be a Yellow Cab driver is nothing short of 100 per cent respect for the customer.”

George said Casino Taxi has developed training videos for all new drivers, and it’s working on showing them to current drivers as well.

A Bob’s Taxi spokesperson wouldn’t comment on whether business is up or down, and sent a statement instead, noting Al-Rawi hasn’t worked with the company since May 2015.

“Bob’s Taxi holds all of our dispatched drivers to an extremely high standard to ensure that all passengers arrive at their destination safely and that at no time do any passengers feel disrespected or unsafe,” the statement said.