Mayor’s letter of support upsets local taxi company

287 Taxi is unhappy about a letter signed by mayor Charlie Cornfield to support a Comox business’ expansion to Campbell River

  • Oct. 18, 2011 1:00 p.m.

287 Taxi is unhappy about a letter signed by the mayor to support a Comox business’ expansion to Campbell River.

The letter supports Ambassador Shuttle Service’s expansion to Campbell River.

Although signed in May, 287 Taxi office manager, Deborah Helme, said they just found out about it recently, as well as the fact the application was approved by the Passenger Transportation Board.

She, along with her husband, Dave Helme, owner of 287 Taxi, and Comox Taxi operations manager Dave Smith, met with mayor Charlie Cornfield on Monday morning to urge Cornfield to change his mind.

“We don’t need anybody else in this town shuttling people back and forth. We do a fine job as it is,” Deborah told Cornfield. “We want a letter to overturn your support for him.”

The letter supports Ambassador Shuttle’s expansion “including pick-up and drop-off service at the Campbell River airport.”

Although the letter states pick-up and drop-off service at the airport, Cornfield said his understanding of what the company would be doing was different.

“Their application as I talked to him doesn’t include our airport; it’s bringing people from their airport to our city,” Cornfield told the taxi companies. “What was explained to us was this was to allow him to bring people from the Valley that flew into Comox up to here, and right now we don’t have West Jet landing here and that brings in an awful lot of passengers.”

Cornfield said he hadn’t seen the application outlining all of the clauses before he signed the letter of support, and he had made his decision based on what the Ambassador Shuttle Service’s owner Kevin East had told him over the phone and in e-mails.

But the company’s application sent to the Passenger Transportation Board is different from what the letter of support states. There is a “return clause” which states that the same passengers getting dropped off are allowed to be picked up again by the company – if they arrange the return ride during the original ride.

There is no mention of Ambassador Shuttle service coming to Campbell River airport in the application. Also, the return clause was tightened up from the original “reverse trips” term in the company’s licence, which stated it could pick-up and drop-off in the destination area.

East said his company’s expansion “will have no impact on 287 Taxi at all,” but Deborah said the return clause is still too loose.

Cornfield said he would read over the application thoroughly and would make a decision this week. He did say he would not be pleased if it turned out he was misinformed about what he was supporting.

“If somebody tries to distort the situation then I’m not going to be very happy about that,” said Cornfield.

Although the application has already been approved Deborah said if Cornfield decides to overturn his letter of support it may help in her efforts to get the application decision overturned by the Passenger Transportation Board.