U-NEED-A-CAB owner John Strang and North Bay City Councillor Johanne Brousseau. (Stu Campaigne, MyNorthBayNow.com staff)
A new business threatening to move in and revamp the manner in which citizens of North Bay may travel in town has forged new alliances.
At a North Bay Police Service Board meeting Tuesday, U-Need-A-Cab owner John Strang sat alongside representatives from his former industry rivals, made his case to keep the status quo in taxi licencing to the board, and later acknowledged the cab companies are united in the fight for their business lives against rideshare competition.
“There have been differences of opinion over the years within the taxi industry,” said Strang “but we’re all hardworking individuals. We’ve all made investments in our community. We’ve all made investments in our employees and staff and the fact that we’re [the cab companies] all together now shows this is serious and we have made strides in relationship building.”
His talking points to the board were succinct and paint a picture of job losses — some 180 industry-wide according to Strang — if ridesharing is granted what he claims would be an unfair business advantage over taxi companies.
For video footage of Strang’s presentation, click here.
Strang said purchased taxi licences are worthless if brokers and independent contractors of those licences have the rug pulled out from underneath them, so to speak. He likens this sort of move to buying a house and 20 years down the road learning one cannot sell the house.
In meeting with the media, Strang mentioned an app in development for his cab company but focused on the 180 job losses he maintains unfettered ridesharing could cause.
“We played by your rules,” Strang said in reference to the police board overseeing taxi licencing, “you can’t change them halfway through.”
See related story: Town hall meeting to explore co-existence of taxis, rideshare
North Bay Needs Ride Share Facebook page administrator Anthony Campigotto responded in a post to Strang’s presentation at the police board meeting with: “Every industry has unique challenges and sometimes context plays into that, but those are the worries and responsibility of each business owner in that sector. Public government should be concerned with providing the best quality of life for the population as large and protecting their interests, not simply one business or industry over another. This is not their mandate, nor their purpose.”
Campigotto goes on to say the deregulation of cab fares may be the best way to allow the free market to determine which business model is suited to the needs of the population.