The newly resurrected BV Taxi and Transport service started taking fares yesterday.
“The first fare was just a transit in town and then we had some rides out to Telkwa and just lots of thumbs up in the street, lots of very, very positive reception,” said Paddy Hirshfield, general manager of the cab company and co-owner with partner Patrick Hibbitts.
He said overall day one was a fairly slow by design, with approximately 1o rides delivered.
“Part of our initial phase was just to get community service down right, so we haven’t really actively marketed towards other services yet, so it was a little slower, but it was done deliberately that way,” Hirshfield said, noting they bought the licences from the previous owner, but are basically starting from scratch.
“It’s a new operation, so there’s some new ways of doing business, applying technology towards the business and wanting to let our drivers onboard in a way that works for them.”
The company has three full-time drivers and a fleet of three minivans. Current hours of operation are Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to Midnight. They are not yet operating on Sundays, but Hirshfield said as they dial in their demand that could changed.
They are currently using a regulated flat-rate model with some common fares being $8.10 in town, $35.35 to Telkwa and $18.40 to the airport.
At this point they have no plans for expanding hours, but are open to modifying as they go along.
“We’re going to listen to our customers,” Hirshfield said.
So far, he said, there is a lot of excitement about it.
“I think people see this as a good thing to have back in the community, they missed it and our drivers are commenting people are really receptive to the vehicles being back on the road,” he said.
Smithers has been without a taxi service since former owner Joyce Pottinger shut the doors Jan. 31.