A plan to force taxi companies to stay open as late as liquor establishments in La Ronge could mean less cabs on the road.
When La Ronge Council released a list of Community Alcohol Management Plan recommendations they chose to support in May, one approved item was to require taxi companies to stay open as late as liquor permit holders as a condition of their business license. With local establishments staying open until 2 a.m. or later, the rule is causing concerns among cab owners.
“The moment they do is the day I take my car off the road,” said Blues Taxi owner Randy Blue. “If I had a driver, I would put a driver on but I don’t have a driver. They want me to turn around and go find one?”
Blue said it’s been difficult to find good drivers in La Ronge, noting he’s been getting by with two-part employees. He begins operating his cab at about 5 a.m. during the week, adding he usually shuts down around midnight. Blue added if the town forces him to stay open longer, it would be tough times for his business.
La Ronge Family Taxi owner Vi Werchola also doesn’t want to see her business made to stay open, stating there are other issues taxi drivers already need to deal with. From Sundays to Wednesday, her company closes at 1 a.m., but from Thursday to Saturday it doesn’t stop answering calls until 2:30 a.m. With the cost of covering the wages of drivers during slow times and the increasing price of gasoline, Werchola added someone is going to have to pay the extra expenses.
“We might be coming to council if they insist on us being out there, that we also insist we get a bit of a raise,” she said. “That would have to be brought up.”
Werchola also recalled an incident back in June when one of her taxi drivers was nearly the victim of an armed robbery. Two men wearing masks and dark clothing, who were later arrested, approached the driver at 12:44 a.m. and demanded he get out, but the driver did not. Werchola noted the incident is a major concern of hers.
“We still want to provide a service to the people and hopefully nothing like that will happen anytime soon,” she said.
larongeNOW also reached out to the owner of Mac's Taxi who declined an interview, but also expressed concern about the future of his business.
Editor's Note: This story was updated at 11:16 a.m. to remove a reference to a plebiscite on the potential changes to liquor regulations, which has been called off.
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