Whistler council will write a letter to the Motor Carrier Commission supporting an application by Whistler Resort Cabs to start a new taxi company in Whistler.
Council members agreed unanimously to send the letter after hearing a presentation from Eric Larsen, general manager of the three existing local taxi companies, Sea to Sky Taxi, Blackcomb Taxi and Limousine and Whistler Taxi Ltd.
Larsen told council the cab business was down 15-20 per cent this past winter and that there are only four months with enough business to keep the 39 vehicles in his fleet busy. He suggested if someone else wants to become a taxi operator in Whistler they could buy one or more of his companies, which are advertised for sale.
"We have 22 owner operators who have invested in the company. All of these operators depend on their taxis for a living," Larsen stated in a letter to council. "The implementation of another taxi company with a large number of licences would be devastating not only to the existing companies but also to all the owner operators."
Larsen told council he received a letter from municipal bylaw supervisor Sandra Smith last summer in support of his companys application for more cab licences, including one for a wheel-chair accessible van. The company obtained permits to run three more vehicles during the winter but has yet to obtain a wheel-chair accessible van.
Councillor Caroline Lamont suggested to Larsen if he was applying for more licences there must be some demand for taxis.
"Why shouldnt there be more competition?" she asked.
Larsen replied that three licences wasnt enough for a new company and reiterated that his companies were available for sale. He said he had received some offers over the years but they were not realistic.
Larsen asked council to remain neutral, rather than support the application of Whistler Resort Cabs.
Michael Hutchison, John Nadeau and Jackson Crompton are the owners of Whistler Resort Cabs.