A1 Taxi out of Business

On 21 February, the Town of Cobourg revoked the taxi licence for A1 Taxi because of undisclosed infractions against the Taxi bylaw No.014-2014. But the owner, Verander Gill, filed an appeal which was heard on Monday afternoon by the full council.  The appeal was chaired by Aaron Burchat in his role as Protection Services Coordinator but most of the meeting was conducted by Town Clerk Brent Larmer.  Although the appeal was not in a courtroom and there were no lawyers present, Brent used his legal knowledge (he’s a qualified para-legal) to present the documented evidence.  He started by quoting laws that gave the Town authority to govern Taxis and continued with documented evidence from Police and Bylaw officer reports showing multiple specific infractions.

Background info on Verander Gill

Verendar Gill
Verendar Gill

During his appeal he mentioned that he also owned taxi services in Winnipeg and Toronto and he’s never had this kind of problem before.  Some Internet research uncovered that in 2012 he owned Dignity Taxi (accessible) in Winnipeg and In Toronto he owned Able Atlantic Taxi and Bee Line Taxi.  Bee Line appears to have since merged with Able Atlantic.  He also mentioned that he now owns the 401 Motel in Cobourg which he gives as his home address.  A1 Taxi operates from 125 Densmore road.

Summary

At the start of proceedings, Brent handed large binders of supporting documents to each Councillor and Mr. Gill. These contained confidential details and were not made public.

The concern started about a year ago with warnings and a suspension but A1 Taxi did not resolve the concerns.  These included multiple instances of unlicensed drivers and unlicensed taxis.  There were also multiple complaints from the public although these were not accompanied by hard evidence so were not part of the proceedings.

The licence of A1 Taxi was suspended on 4 December 2019 but the company continued to operate – illegally. One major incident happened on the 401 in a snow storm where an A1 Taxi on its way to Warkworth Penitentiary was involved in an accident and Brighton OPP was called. Officer Kelly Mason was there and in person reported to the hearing from her notes.  She said that the taxi driver – William Jarvis – was not licensed as a cab driver, the taxi was unlicensed since A1 was under suspension and there was no proof of ownership or insurance in the car (although proof of insurance was subsequently provided).

When asked to present his case, Mr. Gill talked about the need to work with the Town and how the Town badly needed cabs. He provided no hard evidence in support of his appeal but instead accused the Town of conducting a witch hunt.

He said that most if not all the cases he was accused of involved cabs that were picking up in Cobourg and taking customers to out of Town addresses.  He said that he understood that in those cases, a cab did not need a Town of Cobourg Licence (he later called this a grey area).  In fact he has it the wrong way around: a Cobourg licence is needed for any pickup in Cobourg but not needed for out of Town pickup and delivery to Cobourg.  At this point, Councillor Brian Darling asked him if he had a copy of the by-law; he said he does but his copy was not on his person.  Brian then asked Brent to read out the part of the bylaw that stated pickups in Cobourg needed a Cobourg Licence.  As Brent pointed out, companies that pickup in both Cobourg and Port Hope (like Ganaraska Taxi) have licences in both towns.

Mr. Gill said that he let two drivers go in December and that’s when the trouble started.  He repeated that he felt very strongly that he has been subjected to a witch-hunt by Mr. Larmer.  Also, “the Town needs more taxis and should work with small companies.”

He feels he has been victimized and that other companies have also used unlicensed cabs for trips out of town.  He conceded that there may have been one or two violations but that should not mean shutting down the whole company.

The Council went into closed session to consider their action.  When they returned, the decision was put in a motion that “based on the evidence… the application has been denied”.  The vote to approve that motion was unanimous.  That is, the appeal was denied.

As a result, A1 Taxi is currently not licensed to operate in Cobourg so for now at least, they are no longer in business in Cobourg.

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JimT
13 March 2020 3:17 pm

Whatever your position on these matters, I can tell you one thing for sure: the cab ride that used to regularly cost me $7.50 to $8.00 now comes in at $10.00 to $11.00 under the new system.

Observer
11 March 2020 12:57 pm

You’ll have to google on UBER drivers unionization action for better pay and working conditions.

Observer
11 March 2020 12:31 pm

Report from Innisfil – climate change damage, unionization of UBER drivers, Innisfil limiting number of rides as they subsidize to citizens – cost to Innisfil rose to 1.2 million – see https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jul/16/the-innisfil-experiment-the-town-that-replaced-public-transit-with-uber

Elaine
11 March 2020 11:54 am

We need Uber. I would much rather use an Uber driver . They show up, they are polite and their cars are clean.

Cindy Mcalpine
11 March 2020 9:15 am

A1 taxi still pick up customers, as im one of those, on saturday at 7am march 8th they came and picked me up and dropped me off at my destination, using their own cars not taxis, charged me more than the trip usually charges, as their was no meters in the cars, now i read this in the news! They the cab company are still taking calls, but say they run at night!

Merry Mary
Reply to  Cindy Mcalpine
12 March 2020 10:57 am

This issue with A1 Taxi is just another example of City people “setting up” in small Towns, such as ours, and skirting the established laws and by-laws in order to profit.

Observer
11 March 2020 6:36 am

Uber? What happens then to the current cab companies that must adhere to regulations and have invested in newer cars, have high insurance rates, must hire cleared drivers that have attended training, purchased owner plates, operate under area restriction and adhere to fee schedule? How can you tell one they must do all this and not a similar company operating under different, much lighter regulation?

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
11 March 2020 9:09 am

How do they manage both in Toronto, Innisfil and all the other places that have Uber and taxis?

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
11 March 2020 11:29 pm

Hi Frenchy – looked reportings for Innisfil which I supplied above and noted while I was at it found various articales the UBER drivers are planning on unionizing and asking for better pay and working conditions since so the cost to Innisfil will rise in time with unionization. Don’t know why people would down vote as I simply provided the facts as to how things are working out using UBER. One guy says with limited rides as Innisfil is now limiting the number of rides and no public transit getting to work is a problem. Hope you find this helpful.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 12:00 am

Yeah, I read that article, but thought it was talking about Uber vs Public Transit. We were talking here about managing Uber and Taxi cabs in the same community.
In Toronto (at least), some drivers drive cab and Uber. Innisfil still has a cab company.

Uber drivers unionizing? Just Uber Black or all drivers?
Either way, unionize shmunionize, let ’em have at it. If having a union drives the cost of goods or services too high, switch over to another product or system. In Innisfil’s case, if Uber gets too costly and buying equipment and all that goes with setting up your own transit system seems a better deal… do it. Easy peasy.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 12:32 am

UBER – which would you take Frenchy? UBER at $5. or a taxi? Think it would come down to UBER period as they are talking of eliminating public transit in favour of UBER. Would be surprised here if the cab companies survived. All in all if you have identical services and insist one must have cab owner plates, meet industry insurance, hire drivers trained for driving publicly – seems a rather unfair advantage to UBER and a financial blow to cabs who share the same client base.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 12:47 am

From what I’ve heard and read, I’d take Uber over any cab at a higher rate, never mind at $5.00. Everyone you talk to, or reports you read, talk about clean cars, friendly drivers, good drivers and better/faster service.
Funny, just after I wrote that last post, I was reading all the google reviews of A1 Taxi in Cobourg, you know, one of those companies that must have cab owner plates, newer cars, meet industry insurance and hire drivers trained for driving publicly. If it wasn’t for feeling bad for their customers it makes for hilarious reading. Give it a try.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 1:18 am

Hi Frenchy – I also read of various UBER driver incidents that make strange reading. UBER drivers not knowing their way about and dumping a fare on the Gardiner Expressway, some with unclean cars, some that assualted their clients. However A1 Taxi apparently deserves the rap they get, I totally agree – try Cobourg Cab – got the owner – very pleasant Scottish woman, totally professional with yes a clean vehicle and drives as well as hires, knows her stuff. So I guess Cobourg will have no public transit, no taxi companies and unionized UBER drivers.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 9:17 am

No wonder she’s nice, she’s Scottish!

“So I guess Cobourg will have no public transit, no taxi companies and unionized UBER drivers.”
Guess away Observer, but that’s quite a leap.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 11:37 am

Frenchy – That is exactly what was discussed with review of Innisfil’s set up in June. Nicole Beatty stated this. So no leap.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 11:41 am

Nicole Beatty said “Cobourg will have no public transit, no taxi companies and unionized UBER drivers”?
Councillor Nicole Beatty said that?

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 11:44 am

She said she would review Innisfil’s set up in June. The rest follows – taxi companies will not be able to compete as they have to adhere to regulations set for the taxi industry which have already been compared to UBER’s. And apparently UBER is seeking or is now unionized.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 11:49 am

” The rest follows…”
So Nicole Beatty didn’t say that, and, it’s still quite a leap by you.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 12:00 pm

Frenchy Innisfil does not have public transit any longer it was replaced by UBER, Taxi companies would be competing on a very sloped playing field. It is a small town – not Toronto the cusomer base is much smaller. Anyway Frenchy I don’t take big leaps I read the cards of what I see – so read ’em and weep.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 12:09 pm

“taxi companies will not be able to compete”
Which brings us back to my original question:
“How do they manage both (taxis and Uber) in Toronto, Innisfil and all the other places that have Uber and taxis?”
There are still lots of cabs in Toronto and Montreal after Uber was introduced 6 1/2 years ago.
Even Innisfil still has taxi service from a few companies.
The neighbouring town of Barrie boasts quite a few cab companies and after a quick call to each, they all said they service Innisfil.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 12:30 pm

Yes Barrie – not Innisfil who no longer has taxi companies. You seemed to have proved my point. Toronto Montreal – I said small communities with smaller customer bases. Innisfil subsidizes UBER and now has decided to limit the number of rides a customer can have. Their costs have rose to 1.2 million. AND no public transit.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 12:55 pm

Better call Global Taxi at 705-431-9898 and Innisfil taxi at 705-431-1114 and tell them they are out of business.🚖🚕

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 1:09 pm

Frenchy – in viewing Global they operate out of Mississauga and service Innisfil. That leaves one Innisfil taxi company established just last year.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:26 pm

Frenchy – in viewing Global they operate out of Mississauga and service Innisfil. That leaves one Innisfil taxi company established just last year.

Observer, do you ever fact check any of your posts?
Brianna at Global Taxi says they have no connection to anyone or anything in Mississauga but will gladly take you there. Give her a call.
And, check out Innisfil Taxi, they say they’ve been in business since 1985
https://www.facebook.com/innisfiltaxi/photos/a.353716008012986/2090506714333898/?type=3&theater

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 1:40 pm

I looked it up on the internet. For Global it said under contact – Mississauga, For Innisfil Tax it said established last year. Re-checked Frenchy this time the info I got was they’ld been around since 2012. Mea Culpa! Anyway Frenchy 1.2 Million and growing in cost to Innisfil – hope you don’t own your own home.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:50 pm

“I looked it up on the internet.”

comment image

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 1:55 pm

Once again Frenchy – I said I re-checked – also Global is a Limo service to the airport only. Innisfil Taxi takes town fares. For a population of 36,000 plus that is pretty slim taxi service. Is that you in the picture Frenchy? Global as 1, count them 1 cab.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 2:13 pm

Nonsense.
Global isn’t a limo service to the airport, it’s an Innisfil cab company. They will take you to the airport as would (hopefully) any cab company in Ontario.
The towns of Barrie and Innisfil are across the street from each other. The 8+ cab companies in Barrie service Innisfil in much the same way a City of Toronto cab will take you to the City of Mississauga or a Cobourg cab will take you to and from Port Hope.
Get off your keyboard and get on the phone to check some facts for yourself.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 3:51 pm

Hello Frenchy got off my keyboard to complete some life demands. Unfortunately a Toronto cab cannot pick up in Missisauga only delivery there. A1 Limo informed me they were an airport service and for local one needed to call their local division as they weren’t licensed for in town service. The town of Innisfil is waving licensing fees for cabs for 2019 and probably 2020 – hmm, a leveling of the playing field? Seems only fair. As you are turning nasty I will conclude with you.

Frenchy
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 4:16 pm

Who is A-1 Limo and how did they get into this conversation about Innisfil taxi companies Global and Innisfil Cab?
You’re all over the place. You’re having me on, aren’t you?
Oh, I feel so gullible.

Observer
Reply to  Frenchy
12 March 2020 4:21 pm

Final Message – the taxi industry operates under the same rules everywhere Frenchy – so I am not all over the place. A1 ran an Airport and in town service. Separate from each other and licensed accordingly for destination and pick up. Good Innisfil is going to wave the licensing fees for the taxi industry – seems only fair when the two operate under different rules of operation and fees which come off the profit line.
Meant to say Frenchy – I enjoyed our discussion but I guess we’ve both said all we’re have to say. It is a great opportunity to discuss and present ideas on divergent views. About the picture Frenchy – hee, hee hee – gives me my smile for the day

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 12:58 pm

“Because Innisfil subsidises each ride, the more successful it is, the more the town pays to Uber. That figure is now projected to reach $1.2m for 2019 – more than the bus programme would have cost, and well above the $900,000 the city allocated. With ridership increasing each year, costs will only rise.”
— The Guardian, July 16, 2019.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:03 pm

Troubling oversights have already emerged in the two years since the programme began: there are no ways for low-income residents to offset the costs of transit – despite staff identifying an average of 40 trips each month to the town’s food bank. Pentikainen says further subsidy for low income residents is “something we’re thinking of”, including using gift cards for residents.”

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:04 pm

…rose to 1.2 million. AND no public transit.

I’m curious, Observer. How does the cost of public transit per resident in Cobourg compare to the cost in Innisfil? Innisfil has twice Cobourg’s population. Their Uber serves the whole town rather ignoring most new areas of Cobourg. Pickup from your residence is far more convenient than trudging through the snow and waiting at a bus stop.

Observer
Reply to  Ken Strauss
12 March 2020 1:14 pm

Hi Ken – What I read is the Province is currently subsidizing public transit for 50% – $413,000 from the Province. Innisfil is not twice the population although at 36,263 is larger however I find it hard to believe Cobourg only gained 3,000 new residents up from the former reporting of 18,000. Yes – UBER can pick up anywhere they aren’t regulated and knee capped like the taxi industry. Innisfil does not receive provincial subsidy for the 1.2 Million – they eat the whole cost.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 3:53 pm

According to the latest census Cobourg is 19,440 and Innisfil is 36,566 or 1.88 times the population. That seems close enough to call it twice for discussion purposes; to suggest that Innisfil is only “larger” seriously distorts any comparison. I have no reason to believe that the population numbers are incorrect. Do you?

Regardless of whether the subsidy comes from the province or the town there is only one taxpayer so I don’t understand your comment. Regardless, what are the per capita costs for each town? Considering that the convenience of Uber is comparable to the Cobourg bus is ridiculous.

Observer
Reply to  Ken Strauss
12 March 2020 4:14 pm

Ken – the census figures. There was listed 7 years ago Cobourg population 18,000 something. Since then we have had West Park, New Amherst, the development in the east end yet the figures only reflect a growth of about 1000 people. I see they have yet to change the sign. Sorry I do have doubts. The rental housing is full, vacancy rate almost nil, they have built further multi resident buildings and condos – so I am a doubting Thomas.

No one is talking about an increased cost convenience, one is talking about the town tax increase should UBER be approved. Plus the fact they are now unionizing so costs will increase. Provincial taxes are another animal spread over a whole populace of Ontario so would have little direct effect on the town especially when you consider people of minumum wage do not pay provincial taxes and so many people here work at minimum wage. Higher town taxes interpret into fewer businesses wishing to set up and less development. People living in expensive homes would bear the brunt of the town tax increase.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:05 pm

A recent study in the journal Science Advances found that Uber and Lyft are the biggest contributors to San Francisco’s crippling traffic congestion. Between 2010 and 2016, congestion surged 62% – a dramatic increase over what modelling projected without the companies, and a strong rebuttal to corporates claims ride-sharing in fact reduces traffic congestion.”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:07 pm

“We know that Lyft and Uber are both losing massive amounts of money. We know they are both underpaying their drivers,” said Spieler. “If you’re doing this to save money, what insurance do you have that five years from now, it will still save you money?”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Observer
12 March 2020 1:23 pm

” Only so many passengers can fit in the backseat of an Uber, and the ride-hailing company, not the town, is pocketing most of the revenue. With per-capita costs essentially fixed, the town is forced to hike rates and cap trips as adoption grows. ”

“The city’s subsidy for the program grew from $150,000 in 2017 to about $640,000 in 2018, and for 2019, it has allocated another $900,000. “

Are_n
10 March 2020 6:52 pm

It’s time to look at other options such as Uber. I’m glad the town stuck to their guns.

Johanne
10 March 2020 4:10 pm

1. Cobourg kangaroo court room…again…
Gangrene of our system. As a fact.
2. Cabs don’t have to be regulated.

Johanne
Reply to  Johanne
11 March 2020 9:41 pm

I just found out how many people have no cars on this site…good info for Mr. Larmer. Foible.

Johanne
Reply to  Johanne
13 March 2020 10:23 am

Now that A1 🚓 is deregulated it has a more successful business than ever. You all confirmed it. The town looses an income.