June 23, 2014 8:40 am

New Calgary taxi company hopes to ease cab crunch

CALGARY – A new Calgary cab company is promising to make it easier for people to hail a taxi.

Rupinder Gill has been driving cabs for 26 years, but says he became frustrated by problems within Calgary’s taxi industry.

His solution was to start his own employee-owned company called Calgary United Cab.

Gill compares Calgary United Cabs to WestJet, saying each driver has shares in the brokerage and is a part owner.

It’s a company model that Gill predicts will lead drivers to promptly answer calls and give better customer service.

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“We answer the phone on the first ring,” says Gill.

Last year, disgruntled employees with Associated Cabs staged wildcat strikes at the Calgary International Airport after Gill said he was fired for speaking out about poor working conditions.

One of their biggest complaints was the amount of money they have to pay brokers.

Gill says with Calgary United Cab, drivers will pay nearly half of what they were paying the big companies.

However, the start of a new cab company doesn’t necessarily mean there were will more taxis on city streets.

Last year, the city rejected a proposal to add 310 new licenses.

Now, Ward 5 Councillor Ray Jones says he intends to bring that plan back to life at a council meeting next month.

“We’ve heard it loud and clear, that there is a shortage of cabs,” says Jones.

The notice of motion would put restrictions on new licenses, forcing drivers to work overnight hours to cater to people heading home from the bar.

“A lot of cab drivers like to get home at 10 or 11 at night, which leaves the bars out there with nobody to get a ride,” says Jones.

Gill, however, says there are already enough cabs in Calgary; they just need to be better utilized.

“If you increase the number of vehicles, you are going to starve the drivers to death,” says Gill. “The only people that make money is the broker. He increases the cars, and he gets more money in his pocket, the driver is not going to make any money.”

Calgary United Cab now has 70 cars and drivers.

The company features a mobile booking app, and online booking. Click HERE to visit their website, or call 403-777-1111 for service.

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