The only taxi company in Smithers is closing its doors at the end of the month. BV Taxi owner Joyce Pottinger said after 15 years she can’t do it anymore.
“I’m walking away, taking the loss and walking away,” she said. “I’m done. I’m not willing to work 7-12 hour shifts anymore. It is ridiculous. Everyone wants a cab in Smithers but no one wants to drive one.”
She currently has two drivers plus herself.
“I have three cabs and when I need three on the night shift because of the bars and the airport, then I have no body to work the dayshift. I need at least eight drivers, I’ve been doing all winter with four and now I’m down to three because of the stresses.”
She said it is hard on her and her drivers when they are short staffed.
“When there aren’t enough drivers, the drivers that I do have are stressed,” she said “When you are busy and when the dispatch phone goes off and won’t stop ringing and there isn’t anyone to jump into the other two vehicles that are just sitting there, it is really disheartening.”
Pottinger added she is limited with who she can hire.
“I can’t hire just anyone because of the road conditions, because of the customer service and the quality of service it has to be in order for it to succeed. They also have to have a Class 4 [driver’s license] and a clean abstract and they have to have their wits about that. When I’m busy, my liability and people’s lives are on the line if the driver doesn’t have his facilities about him, there will be an accident.”
She has had a couple of potential buyers over the past six years but she said no one has pulled the trigger.
“When they look into what it entails to be the owner they tell me I’m out of my mind,” she said.
She said the situation is unfortunate but she’s had enough.
“I am absolutely shutting my doors at the end of January.”