Cabbies say Coyote biting into business

War of words brewing between Penticton cab companies and Penticton Indian Band over pick-ups at river channel

The Coyote Cruises bus picks up another full load of passengers at the south end of the Okanagan River Channel Thursday afternoon. The Penticton Indian Band business is currently embroiled in a dispute with three local taxi companies over the use of the bus to ferry passengers to and from the start point.

The Coyote Cruises bus picks up another full load of passengers at the south end of the Okanagan River Channel Thursday afternoon. The Penticton Indian Band business is currently embroiled in a dispute with three local taxi companies over the use of the bus to ferry passengers to and from the start point.

Chief Jonathan Kruger hoped a situation with Penticton’s three taxi companies had been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

But a meeting last week with representatives of the Penticton Indian Band and Coyote Cruises failed to resolve the concerns of the city’s cab industry, according to Amarbir S. Kahlon, the president of Courtesy Cabs.

Kahlon, along with the operators of Klassic and Peach City Cabs sent a joint letter to Penticton city council on July 10, protesting the actions of the Penticton Indian Band’s Coyote Cruises, which they say is costing their drivers business.

Coyote Cruises has operated a tube rental and bus services on the Okanagan River Channel for more than two decades, picking people up at the end of the run and bringing them back to the start.

“They used to come to the midpoint to pick up passengers and cab drivers were picking up from the south end,” said Kahlon. Cab drivers got their share, he continued, so there wasn’t an issue.

“They started coming to the end point and picking up everyone, leaving nothing for the cab drivers.”

“That’s business,” said Kruger, pointing out that the cabs are doing business on PIB land, essentially private property.

The PIB, he continued, is willing to work with the cab companies, even offering to set aside parking spots for the cabs, but aren’t going to stop offering their service to all the channel users.

“We pick up the people that rent our tubes, but we will also pick up anybody else at a really good rate to drive them back to the top,” said Kruger.

“People have a choice of waiting for the bus and paying $5 for the return trip, or taking a cab right away at a cost of about $20.

“It’s up to the people on the channel to make that call. But we’re certainly not going to change our business, we’ve been doing this for years,” said Kruger.

Coyote Cruises charges for the bus ride at the top of the channel.

In their letter, the cab companies said the upfront charge takes choice away from the channel users and Penticton’s tourist image is suffering as a result, with people waiting for up to 45 minutes for the bus on busy days.

“They already paid for the ride, so they can’t take a cab, because that would be a double charge for them,” said Kahlon.

He would rather see Coyote Cruises charge riders when they pick them up, the same as cab drivers do.

Resentment from the city’s 100 cab drivers has built to such a point, Kahlon said, that someone reported Coyote Cruises for charging for a passenger service without a licence from the Passenger Transportation Board.

But that may have made matters worse.

While waiting for the PTB to issue a licence, Kruger said they have been giving people free rides.

Each busload of people, Kahlon estimates, represents about $800 of lost business for the cab drivers.

“When three buses are running constantly, you can imagine how much business the cab drivers are losing,” said Kahlon.

“Right now, no one is making money.

“Bus drivers are hauling people for free while waiting for the licence.”

Both sides say they want to work together and avoid an escalation of the situation.

“We don’t have a problem with the taxicabs down there,” said Kruger

They just can’t park in the middle of our bus lanes and think they own the place.

“They have to have respect, knowing it is our property down there.”

Kahlon said no further meetings with the band are scheduled, and the cab companies may try appealing to MLA Dan Ashton and the B.C. Taxi Association for help after Penticton city council said they had no jurisdiction to intervene.

 

Just Posted

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read