MIKE KING, The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, June 19
Canada's second-largest cab company has hitched a ride into the West Island market aboard one of Montreal's smallest taxi firms.
The Montreal Diamond Taxi
Association, with its fleet of nearly 1,100 cabs and stable of 3,000 drivers, has picked up Taxi Lachine
That 40-cab, 55-driver operation gives Diamond
a foothold from which to further develop business in the western portion of Montreal.
"We've given them that access," said John Rogers
, former vice-president of Taxi Lachine
and now director of operations for newly named Diamond de l'Ouest
Only Toronto's Beck Taxi Ltd., with 1,300 cars, is bigger than Diamond
Despite its size, Diamond
didn't have any of the 280 permits from the Montreal Taxi Bureau to operate in the West Island (an area called the 12th agglomeration, but better known as A12 as seen on many taxi domes) until acquiring Taxi Lachine
Although cabs carrying the Diamond
name or that of its affiliates Veteran
l are often seen on the West Island, they can only work there under certain conditions.
They can pick up a fare who has phoned dispatch for a ride into Diamond
's A11 zone (central Montreal) or take someone from A11 to A12. But they can't pick up and deliver someone within A12.
The only exception is the airport in Dorval, which is open to permit holders from three zones with A5, east end, being the other.
In terms of permits, "we had no presence there before," Dominic Roy
's president and general manager, explained.
That changes with Diamond de l'Ouest
, with its distinctive newly designed domes that feature a black and yellow checker design.
In addition to buying Taxi Lachine
's permits, Diamond
also got the phone number already familiar to West Island residents and its regular customers.
"It's a perfect mix," Rogers
said. "We always had a good working relationship prior to the sale." Lachine Taxi, described by 20-year-veteran cabbie Rogers
as a "niche company and the smallest on the island before the (Diamond
) purchase," is expected to benefit from the takeover.
The only other cab company with permits on the West Island is Co-op de l'Ouest.
In the mid-1980s, the local taxi industry initiated a buyback policy to reduce the number of cabs from about 5,200 to the current number of slightly more than 4,600.
The buyback was done to restore economic health by having fewer drivers to split the city's fare revenues.
Since there are allotments for each of the three zones, more cabs can't be added.
Instead, a cab company has to buy a permit from an existing holder.
doesn't have any of the 340 in A5, but Roy
said he's interested in that zone if an opportunity arises.
According to the taxi bureau, there are 19 taxi companies (a minimum of 25 cabs are needed) with 16 different owners.
Andre Lavallee, the city executive committee member responsible for public transit, told a "Destination Taxi" symposium presented by the taxi bureau at the beginning of the month that the $508-million-a-year industry plays an important economic role in the city.
"It offers Montrealers an efficient and essential form of transportation and tourists their first contact with the city," he said.
The results of an IPSOS-Decarie study recently commissioned by the bureau were also released at the one-day conference.
They included: Montrealers take cabs an average of 18 times a year.
They spend an average of $16.78 a trip.
There are 4,445 taxis and more than 10,000 cabbies.
Those taxi drivers collect 30 million fares from 45 million passengers.
- - -
7 of 19 firms operating in Montreal own more than 100 taxis
Co-op de Montreal 329
Co-op de l'Ouest 222
Co-op de l'Est 187
Libellés : Taxi Diamond, Taxi Lachine