While in Victoria just after the election, Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick visited several ministries to discuss different issues. One of those ministries was Transportation, where McCormick discussed a couple of concerns.
The two most important issues around transportation in Kimberley are the lack of taxi service after the long time business L&K Taxi closed, and the need for a larger commuter bus to Cranbrook.
L&K was finding it very difficult to break even as prices rose and shut their doors at the end of August.
A possible solution to the lack of taxi service is ride share, such as Uber or Lyft.
McCormick said that when L&K closed he was under the assumption that a ride share license was very difficult to obtain in British Columbia. But in the course of due diligence, he has found that is not so.
“Eight ride share licenses have been issued in the East Kootenay,” McCormick said.
He says ride share companies have blanketed parts of the province with licenses but it is up to them whether they go ahead or not, whether it makes economic sense in smaller communities.
He says the Minister of Transportation advised him to call the companies and ask if they intended to go ahead.
But it is an economic issue, he said.
“The length of rides and the volume, you can barely break even. The issue is to be able to make a profit in a smaller community.”
Another possible solution may be to partner with B.C. Transit with a small taxi service and transit, a sort of public private partnership.
McCormick said they could get transit services on the weekend, but the city would have to pay for it, and inflation is not only hard on a taxi business, it’s making the coming budget process very difficult for the city.
“Inflation is killing us right now,” he said.
As for a larger commuter bus, McCormick pitched a trial for an electric bus between the two communities.
“I thought it could be a good pilot project, given the winter conditions, but the answer was, ‘you and every other community in the province’. So then I asked about a larger bus. We will continue the conversation.”
READ: Kimberley’s L&K Taxi closes
READ: BC Transit aims to have all-electric bus fleet by 2040
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