Yellowknife Cab officially opened for business at 7am on Monday morning, with 18 cabs on the road.
Though the new company did not advertise its opening day, the distinctive yellow vehicles had been spotted roaming Yellowknife’s roads for weeks before they began operating in earnest.
Manager Meda Shanahan said on Monday afternoon the response on day one had been “fantastic.”
Shanahan said cars had been out on the city’s streets while the company awaited the right equipment, and city inspections, before its drivers were allowed to operate commercially.
In total, the company aims to have 25 cars on the road soon.
‘The level of respect’
“We could see that things needed to change … so we decided to come up with Yellowknife Cab,” said Shanahan, who hopes to set a standard of service that helps the company stand out.
“I just think it’s going to be the level of respect for fellow community members,” she said, explaining that all cabs charge the same rate so they have to compete based on customer service.
“We have one long-term Yellowknifer … that grew this company with us from the start until now.
“He’s really concerned with taking care of Elders, and veterans, and seniors.”
Some of the cab drivers previously worked for other cab companies in the city, while others are new to the industry and decided to buy into the company.
Shanahan explained Yellowknife Cab is set up as a shareholder company, with 29 of the 35 shares available spoken for.
“These guys put in a lot of time, and a lot of effort, and they did most of this themselves,” she said. “I’m very proud of all of them for the work that they put in.”
A delayed opening
Yellowknife Cab was cautious to publicize an opening date, said Shanahan, as the company was “seeing no satisfaction from the City of Yellowknife” as it lobbied for a bylaw change allowing its cabs to use a different type of metering technology.
“We ended up buying meters that we really didn’t need,” Shanahan explained.
Yellowknife Cab approached the City in January to request the company be allowed to use meters built into tablets, but the City’s current bylaw requires sealed, tamper-proof meters.
The company eventually had to purchase sealed meters in order to get its taxi brokerage licence so drivers could start working.
Despite the obstacles, just a few hours into business, Shanahan said Yellowknife Cab had received “multiple calls and messages on social media congratulating us.”
She added: “Another cab driver that has worked with some of these people was nice enough to send us a beautiful plant for our office.”