Friday, December 14, 2007

Taxi Owner upset with city councillor comments

Tim Thompson, the owner of Beal Taxi in Timmins, says he is not happy that a city councillor is picking on the taxi business without first consulting with those in the business.
Thompon was reacting to a story in The Timmins Times on Wednesday (see other blog story below) about comments made by Ward Two Councillor John Curley at the city council meeting this week.
Curley told council he had received complaints from several east end residents who called for a cab only to be told “they might have to wait for an hour.”
Thompson has responded with a prepared statement and letter to the editor where he challenges Curley’s statements.
Thompson said he was also upset that Curley was speaking out without also contacting the Timmins Police Services Board which regulates taxi licenses in Timmins.
“I strongly view the comments made by Coun. Curley in The Timmins Times, directed against my company as slanderous and unsubstantiated by hard facts. It is most unfortunate that Mr. Curley did not make any attempts to contact myself or the Timmins Police Service before accusing us publicly of not providing proper service in the east end.
In Wednesday’s report in The Times, Curley never mentions any specific taxi company by name.
Curley told council this week that many of his constituents feel that wait times for a taxi are too long, and that not enough taxis are dedicated to Porcupine or South Porcupine to meet the need.
Thompson says that is an unfair assumption. He says delays happen for any number of reasons, which are often beyond the control of the dispatcher or the drivers.
“I strongly object to the assumptions being made by Coun. Curley that we are purposefully negligent in our responsibility to provide taxi service for the east end,” Thompson wrote.
“Our dispatch sheets show that simply is not the case and they can be viewed by Coun. Curley to satisfy his curiosity. Mr. Curley also needs to take note of the time of year and the increased volumes they bring. Any delay in providing service in South End could not be attributed to negligence but would be the result of circumstances beyond our or anyone’s control. He should also note that during the wintry holiday season, Timmins can experience similar wait times.”
“The people of the east end need to understand that Beal Taxi takes extreme pride in providing services to you and we always try to get to you fast and get you where you need to go safely. The efficient handling of calls is beneficial, not just for you, but for us also,” Thompson continued.
Curley told council that maybe more taxi licenses and more competition could solve the concern over delays in service.
At the council meeting, Police chief Richard Laperriere explained that delays can happen, especially during the holiday season. With respect to the need for more taxi licenses, the chief also said he was told that in most instances, at other times of the year, there are more cars available than there are calls for service.
Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren told Curley that he would have the issue placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Police Services Board for discussion.

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