Long waits for cabs have Island residents calling for Uber


WATCH: Calls are growing louder for ride-sharing services like Uber to be brought in to meet growing transportation demands on Vancouver Island. A Nanaimo woman says it was a shocking four-hour wait for her guests to get home from a weekend Halloween party due to the number of taxis in that city.

As the dance videos captured at her Halloween bash attest, Lyssa Marcil and her boyfriend threw one heck of a house party Saturday night.

“Our Halloween party is sort of known as the big one of the year,” said Marcil.

But the wildest part of the whole night may have been when her 30 plus guests tried to hail cabs in Nanaimo to get home.

“They start trying to call the taxis here in Nanaimo and (get the) busy signal,” said Marcil.

“I had a friend that phoned over 80 times on her home and nothing. It would either ring busy or it would go to a voicemail,” said Marcil.

The Nanaimo woman said ride0sharing is long overdue here and is appealing to the province to bring it.

“Luckily my friends were really responsible but I can see that in other situations where people would actually drive home,” said Marcil.

It’s a frustration Adam Walker says he hears over and over again in his barbershop on Commercial Street.

“It’s a big deal,” said said the barber at Generations Barbershop.

“People wanna get home and people do not want to sit and wait for a couple hours for a cab.”

“They’ve been given their opportunity and the market is demanding something different,” said Marcil.

While already operating in other provinces, B.C.’s government says it will be at least late 2019 before ride-hailing services like Uber are allowed to hit the street here. Cabbie Jay Crouch says they are trying their best but there’s just not enough cars on the road.

“You have only so many cars on the road at a time and there’s only so much available,” said the Nanaimo cab driver.

Nanaimo’s AC Taxi alone had over 1,500 calls for service on Saturday night. The company tells CHEK News it has applied for six new cabs to hit the road but like the ride-sharing process, are still waiting to hear back from the provincial government.

Marcil says fortunately all of her guests got home safely Saturday night but at the slow pace of ride sharing approval in B.C. is already bracing for another Halloween party with long waits for cabs next year.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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