VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The busiest cruise ship season since 2010 is now in full swing in Vancouver with three ships docking at Canada Place today and another seven scheduled to dock over the weekend.
The Port of Vancouver expecting a seven percent bump in passenger volume over 2017, with roughly 895,000 cruise passengers passing through.
But Carolyn Bauer at the Vancouver Taxi Association says cabs have been able to handle the extra volume thanks to 175 additional licenses, and an improved staging setup downtown.
“We actually have staging for up to 35 taxis downstairs” up from just eight or nine last year, Bauer explains. “I clear out from Cordova up to Canada Place, and then I bring the next block down… one lane gets filled up, they keep going downstairs, we keep bringing [cabs] in off Hastings down Howe. It was beautiful.”
She adds when four cruise ships were docking earlier this month, they were still able to clear the taxi lines in about three-and-a-half hours.
‘There’s no way’
Despite these efforts by the Port of Vancouver and the taxi industry, industry groups are wondering when ride hailing will finally come to Vancouver.
Ian Tostenson with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association argues taxis alone will always have a difficult time keeping up with rising cruise ship volumes, plus the city’s busy summer event schedule.
“There’s no way that a taxi fleet can accommodate that,” he says.
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Tostenson adds many tourists, especially from the United States, have come to rely on ride hailing services when they travel.
“They get out and they go and start pulling their phones out and start ordering Uber or Lyft, and they suddenly realize that we don’t have it, and it’s like, why… I mean, I think we’re the last place on the Earth that doesn’t have ride hailing,” he says.
Business groups, including the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, are trying to put pressure on the province to finish their consultations with the taxi industry and table ride hailing legislation by Christmas.