Taxi merger welcomed but Uber threat still lingers

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Taxi merger welcomed but Uber threat still lingers

Kingston – There’s a new fleet of cabs in Kingston, but most are driven by familiar faces.
With a fleet of 85 — “Modern City” taxis are now picking up fares. A new business that formed from the merger of Modern and City taxi this week. And some drivers say they’re optimistic the new company will do well.

“I hope we are, we try. We go out and we do our job the best we can and we look after the people and help them out and everything else like that.” Oskar Henaut, Driver at Modern City

In a statement, Modern owner Keith Campbell called the merger “exciting”… adding employees are “free to apply” for jobs with the new company.

So what exactly does this mean for the customer? Well it’s essentially business as usual at Modern City. They’re offering a five minute service and fares will remain the same. That’s because they’re regulated by the Kingston and Area Taxi Commission.

The merger leaves Kingston with only 2 cab companies. Amey’s is the other one, but still larger, with 130 cabs. Owner Mark Greenwood says he can understand why his competitors decided to team up  “As time goes on the expenses of running a corporation or company gets more and more. So it’s not uncommon for companies to join together to share those expenses. I think you still have choice in Kingston and it’s still good quality choice.” said Greenwood.

The merger comes a short time after Uber — the app based ride sharing service — started making inroads in the Kingston market. Amey’s owner says the largely-unregulated Uber remains the biggest threat to the local taxi industry.
“We do not hesitate to compete with other companies but when you offer to compete with another company with unfair advantages that’s what I have a disagreement on.”  Explained Greenwood.

Earlier this year, Kingston’s taxi commission asked Uber to adopt industry practices such as minimum fares, background checks and standards for behaviour and dress code.  But Uber snubbed those recommendations … leaving the city’s regulated taxi companies frustrated, and trying to compete for fares. Now, just 2 of them left.

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