Port aux Basques taxi ser­vice de­lays clo­sure un­til April 1

Scott’s Taxi was to shut down March 20

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROSALYN ROY

“I don’t blame them ei­ther be­cause it is a busi­ness and they have to do what’s fea­si­ble, but it’s go­ing to be a hard hit for the town.” – Krista Savoury

Af­ter decades of ser­vice, Scott’s Taxi in Port aux Basques will ei­ther be sold or shut down.

The taxi ser­vice own­ers had ini­tially planned to cease op­er­a­tions on Tues­day, March 20 but posted a last-minute re­prieve on Face­book stat­ing the com­pany would re­main in op­er­a­tion for over an­other week due to in­ter­est from a pos­si­ble buyer.

If the taxi com­pany does not sell, it will close for good on April 1.

If that’s the case, res­i­dents are wor­ried about what might hap­pen if there is no longer a taxi ser­vice in the area.

“Last week I met a se­nior who was down­town at a drug store and I asked how she got there, if a friend brought her,” re­counts Doreen Bur­ton.

The se­nior had taken a taxi to do her bank­ing.

“(With) no taxis this se­nior won’t be able to do these er­rands; will have to rely on fam­ily and friends.”

Bur­ton is a vol­un­teer with the hos­pi­tal aux­il­iary and is ac­cus­tomed to work­ing with a lot of the re­gion’s se­niors. She is wor­ried about the ef­fect on them should the ser­vice be dis­con­tin­ued.

“How does one reach the ferry ter­mi­nal, to and from home?” asked Bur­ton. “How does a se­nior with­out a car visit their doc­tor’s clinic, go for X-rays, re­visit the doc­tor, visit the den­tist? If you are sick and need to visit the doc­tor at Dr. Charles L. Le­Grow do you call an am­bu­lance? No, you have to seek out a neigh­bour’s help even in the wee hours of the morn­ing.”

Bur­ton pointed out that se­niors could pos­si­bly be cut off from so­cial events, which would neg­a­tively im­pact their qual­ity of life.

“There are places like the se­niors’ club who hold events such as din­ners and dances. Se­niors who need taxi trans­porta­tion to and from will not be able to at­tend.”

More than just se­niors will be af­fected, said Krista Savoury. The mother of 14-month-old Jesse Savoury-Hynes worked the bar scene for seven years and in re­tail at the mall. Since Jesse was born three-months’ pre­ma­ture, weigh­ing only 1.6 pounds at birth, she takes him to reg­u­lar ap­point­ments in the Grand Bay area with Western Health.

Los­ing the taxi ser­vice would make those ap­point­ments dif­fi­cult to keep with­out be­com­ing de­pen­dent on oth­ers.

“When I worked I used (taxis) ev­ery day to get to work, to get home from work,” said Savoury.

“I do have a big sup­port sys­tem. I do get rides. But some­times a lot of them are not avail­able and I don’t have any other op­tion.”

Savoury says she knows of other moth­ers, some with chil­dren who need con­stant med­i­cal checks, and stu­dents who are en­tirely de­pen­dent on the taxi ser­vice to com­mute to and from work.

Some of her friends are con­cerned about how they will get to work, and one is wor­ried she’s go­ing to have to quit her job. Savoury be­lieves the re­gion’s econ­omy would be ad­versely im­pacted by the loss of the town’s taxi ser­vice.

Tourism would also likely take a hit.

“At the Le­gion you get a lot of Le­gion mem­bers from across Canada. That’s the first place they would stop, and we would call a cab and take them around town to dif­fer­ent places,” said Savoury.

Tourists stay­ing at lo­cal ho­tels or B&Bs also hire taxis to sight­see along the coast. Savoury also an­tic­i­pates an es­ca­la­tion in im­paired driv­ing.

“If the cab ser­vice does go you’ll see clubs try­ing to get some­body to vol­un­teer ( to drive) be­cause there’s not go­ing to be any other op­tion,” said the for­mer bar­tender. “You got a hard job to get (bar pa­trons) out at 4 a.m. with five cabs out at the door wait­ing; when you got no ride and nowhere to go it’s go­ing to be danger­ous.”

De­spite her worry, Savoury says she fully un­der­stands the eco­nomic re­al­ity the taxi com­pany is deal­ing with.

“I don’t blame them ei­ther be­cause it is a busi­ness and they have to do what’s fea­si­ble, but it’s go­ing to be a hard hit for the town (if the busi­ness closes),” she said.

Like Savoury, town mayor John Spencer sees both sides of the sit­u­a­tion.

“It will be a sad day when PAB does not have a taxi ser­vice,” he wrote via email to the Gulf News. “It marks the end of an era for the present provider (and) the town and the re­gion. Over the years, the present oper­a­tor, and the many other op­er­a­tors, have of­fered an in­valu­able ser­vice.”

The high cost of do­ing busi­ness is tak­ing a toll on the taxi in­dus­try, said Spencer.

“It is not easy bal­anc­ing costs such as fuel, salaries, up­keep, in­sur­ance with fares. High gas prices im­pact the bot­tom line just as high gas prices rip­ple else­where in the lo­cal econ­omy.

“The re­cent protests in St. John’s by the taxi in­dus­try tells us things are not well. The bot­tom line is there must be money made or ser­vice will suf­fer.”

Spencer also ex­pressed con­cern for the towns­peo­ple who will be most ad­versely af­fected should the taxi ser­vice fail to sell.

“Start­ing a new en­ter­prise will not be easy. Nor will it be easy for those who de­pend reg­u­larly on the avail­abil­ity of the ser­vice,” he said. “We are a com­mu­nity of se­niors, many of whom de­pend on a taxi ser­vice to pick up essen­tials such as med­i­cal sup­plies and gro­ceries.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Scott’s Taxi did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

PHO­TOS BY J. R. ROY / SPE­CIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

Krista Savoury says know­ing the taxi ser­vice was read­ily avail­able gave her a sense of se­cu­rity when it came to trans­porta­tion for her and son, Jesse Savoury-Hynes.

A “For Sale” sign is vis­i­ble in the win­dow of the Port aux Basques taxi com­pany that was sched­uled to shut down op­er­a­tions on Tues­day, March 20.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.