Castlegar Taxi company gets reprieve

John Foglia, owner/operator of cab companies in Castlegar and Trail, is about to call it quits due to high operating costs.

John Foglia

John Foglia

Castlegar Taxi and sister company Champion Cab in Trail have received permission from the Passenger Transportation Board to raise fares. In January, I reported that the cabs would go out of business, however, with the recent decision of the Transportation Board both cab companies will stay in business.

“They’ve given us an increase so we’ll keep on going,” said John Foglia, owner and operator of both companies.

The Passenger Transportation Board ruled that Foglia could raise the flag (starting) rate by 10 per cent, the waiting rate by three per cent, and the regular rate by 22 per cent. Currently, the rates for the local cabs are: Flag = $3.15, Rate 1 (waiting) = $2.06, Time (per hour) = $43.66.

“We’re going to monitor to see if there is any left over to see if we can pay drivers more,” said Foglia. “We cannot get drivers. So we’re hoping once we figure out where we stand with this increase. Hopefully there’s enough left over that we can advertise that it’s not minimum wage.”

Foglia has owned Castlegar Taxi for six years and Champion Cab for 12. The cab rates are set by the Transportation Board, which is an independent tribunal in B.C. established under the Passenger Transportation Act. All the cab drivers are paid hourly. There are no owner/operators in Castlegar or Trail.

“We felt that by paying a straight hourly way it would be easier for us,” said Foglia. “When we took over the Castlegar Taxi company some of the drivers were owner/operators. We gave them the choice and they all chose hourly wages.”

Foglia would still like to sell the businesses.

“I personally want out,” he said. “I’ve been trying to sell for the last five years. I’m doing it because I believe we can’t afford to lose it. I strongly believe if it went down, it would be another nail in the coffin of our area. I’m glad they finally saw the light.”